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Rufus Putnam 



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RuFUS Putnam 


Extracts From His Journal 




Copyright, 1886 
By Mary Cone. 










.. 9 




1 v.— JOU RNAL CONTI N UEt) ^^ 



.... 60 









III 103 






John Putnam came from Buckinghamshire, England, Anno Domini 1634, 
and settled in Salem, Massachusetts. He brought three sons with him, 
viz.: Thomas, Nathaniel and John. He, that is the father, died at the 
age of eighty years, very suddenly. He ate his supper, went to prayer 
in his family, and died before he went to sleep. 

Edward Putnam, grandson of the first John, gives the above account in 
a manuscript dated 1733, himself being then seventy-nine years of age, 
and adds: " From these three proceeded twelve males ; from these twelve, 
forty males ; and from these forty, eight-two males. There were none of 
the name of Putnam in New England but those of this family." "With 
respect to their situation in life," he remarks, "I can say with the Psalm- 
ist: ' I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the right- 
eous forsaken nor his seed begging bread,' except of God, who provides 
for all. For God had given to the generations of my fathers, Agar's 
petition — 'neither poverty nor riches' — but hath fed us with food conven- 
ient for us, and their children have been able to help others in their need. 
The third generation have all gone to their account but three, and he that 
gives this account is one of them, aged seventy-nine years." 

In 1741, at the age of eighty-seven, he gives the names of the following 
heads of families of the fourth generation, viz.: Edward, Elisha, Joseph, 
Ezra, Isaac, Nathaniel, Daniel, Benjamin, Tarrent, Cornelius, Stephen, 
Israel, Thomas, Edward, Archelaus, Joseph, Samuel, John, Amos, Josiah, 
James, Caroline, Jethro, John, Jonathan, Henry, Holyoak, Jacob, Wil- 
liam, David, Ely, Joshua, Henry — 32. But how many there were at that 


time, of that generation, he says he could not tell. This good, old man 
died in the year 1747, in the ninety-fourth year of his age. 

The Putnam family, as before stated, settled at Salem, Massachusetts, 
in the year 1634, and they were very numerous at that day in that and the 
neighboring towns. However, they are a family by no means so gov- 
erned by local habits as some others. They now spread through all New 
England and many other parts of the United States; nor have I ever 
found one of the name but was descended from the Salem family. It 
would be in vain to attempt, at this day, to give an account of all the 
male descendants of the family. However, I shall attempt a genealogy, 
as far as has come to my knowledge: 

First, Thomas Putnam, the eldest son of our ancestor, John Putnam, 
had four sons — Thomas, Edward, Archelaus and Joseph. Edward was 
born July 4, 1654, and died at upwards of ninety-three, before mentioned. 
His sons were the fourth generation, viz.: Edward, born April 29, 1682, 
lived to an old age; Holyoak, born September 18, 1683, killed by the 
Indians; *Elisha, born November 3, 1685, died June 10, 1745; Joseph, 
born November i, 1687; Nehemiah, born December 20, 1694, "^'sd young; 
Ezra, born April 29, 1696, died aged fifty-one ; Isaac, born March 14, 
1698, died aged fifty-nine. 

Of the fifth generation, sons of Edward^, viz.: Edward^ settled in Sut- 
ton, died at an advanced age, leaving a numerous issue ; Holyoak, who 
also settled in Sutton ; and Miles, who first settled in Middleton. 

Fifth generation, sons of Elisha, third son of Edward ^ : Elisha, born 
December, 17x5, died in the army, 1758; Nehemiah, born March 22, 1719, 
died at Sutton, November 27, 1791 ; Jonathan, born July 19, 1721, died 
at Sutton ; Stephen, born April 4, 1728, died at Northampton March 5, 
1803; Amos, born July 22, 1730, died August 19, 1804; fRufus, born 
April 9, 1730. 

Fifth generation, sons of Joseph, fourth son of Edward^ : Oliver and 

*Elisha removed from Salem and settled in Sutton, May, 1725. Isaac also removed to Sutton soon after. 
^Commenced the settlement at Marietta, on the Ohio, April 7, 1788, and arrived there with his 
family November, 1790. 


Fifth generation, sons of Ezra, sixth son of Edward^: Nehemiah, died 
young. Ezra had three sons ; all died without male issue. 

Fifth generation, sons of Israel, seventh son of Edward^ : Phineas, 
Asaph, Nathan, Isaac, Edward, Daniel. Edward died young. The others 
have numerous families. 

Sixth generation, descending from Elisha, son of Edward^, viz.: sons 
of Elisha^ : Andrew, Elisha, Antepas, Jockton, Luke, William. Sons 
of Nehemiah — Aaron, Reuben, Joseph, Benjamin. Sons of Jonathan — 
Adonijah, Trolinsbee, Jonathan, Francis, John. Sons of Stephen — Solo- 
mon, John, Elisha, Gideon, Lewis, David, Rufus. Son of Amos — Paul, 
who died in childhood. Sons of Rufus — *Ayres, William Rufus, *Frank- 
lin, Edwin. 

Seventh generation, grandsons of Rufus, son of Elisha. Sons of Wil- 
liam Rufus — William, died a few days after birth ; William Rufus, born 
June 13, 1812. Sons of Edwin — Franklin, Rufus, William Rice. 

In reviewing this memoir, in justice to the character of my father, 
Elisha Putnam, I ought to mention that he was much respected as a citi- 
zen and Christian, was town clerk many years and deacon of the church, 
and represented the town of Sutton in the general court, how many years 
I cannot say. 

Descendants of Joseph, the youngest son of Thomas and grandson of 
our venerable ancestor. He was half-brother to Edward^, whose descend- 
ants have been noticed : 

Fourth generation, sons of the above Joseph — William, David, Israel^. 

Fifth generation, sons of David — William, Allen, Joseph, Israel, Jesse. 

Fifth generation, sons of flsrael'^ : Sixth generation — Israel, David (who 
died young), Chuyler. 

Sixth generation, sons of William, son of David^ — Andrew and Wil- 

Sixth generation, sons of Joseph, son of David^ — Jesse. 

Sixth generation, sons of Israel, son of David'— Allen, David, Israel. 

* Died in childhood. 

fThis is the celebrated General Putnam, born at Danvers, Mass., 1716 ; settled at Porafret, Conn. 



Sixth generation, sons of Israel, son of Israel^ — Israel, Aaron Wal- 
dow, David, William Pitt, George Washington. 

Sixth generation, sons of Daniel, son of General Israel — William. 

Sixth generation, sons of Chuyler, son of General Israel — John, Nathan, 
P. Schuyler, Oliver. 

Seventh generation, sons of Aaron Waldow, son of Colonel Israel — 
William Pitt, Aaron Waldo, Israel Loring. 

Seventh generation, sons of David, son of *Colonel Israel — Benjamin 
Perkins, Charles M., Peter R. , Douglas, David, Murray, George. 

The descendants of the branches of the Putnam family are very numer- 
ous, an account of whom has not been attempted for want of documents, 
and it is to be observed that, of the thirty-two heads of families men- 
tioned by my grandfather in 1741, the descendants of only eight of them 
have been noticed, and those very partially in several instances. 

* Colonel Israel Putnam, with all his family, removed to the Ohio between 1788 and 1797 ; settled 
at Marietta and Belpre. 



As MAY BE seen, by reference to the genealogy in the introduction, 
Elisha Putnam, the father of Rufus, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, 
November 3, 1685. He married Susannah Fuller of Danvers. In 1725 
he moved, with his wife and three children, to Sutton, where he purchased 
a farm and continued to be a tiller of the ground, as his fathers had been 
before him. Three sons were born to him after his removal. Rufus, 
born April 9, 1738, was the youngest. The Rev. Dr. Hall said of him: 
" Deacon Elisha Putnam was a very useful man in the civil and ecclesiast- 
ical concerns of the place. He was for several years deacon of the church, 
town clerk, town treasurer, and representative in the general court or col- 
onial assembly in Massachusetts. He died in June, 1745, in the joyful 
hope of the glory of God." 

If Rufus was born under a propitious sky, it was clouded over before 
he had well begun the journey of life; for he was but little more than 
seven years old when his father died. To the little boy the loss of such 
a father was a calamity that could not be measured, and the consequences 
were as lasting as his life. The first two years of his orphanage were 
passed at the house of his maternal grandfather in Danvers. While there, 
he was sent to school, where he learned to read, and thus secured for him- 
self the key to the labyrinth of knowledge. In 1747 his mother married 
Captain John Sadler, and Rufus went back to his home. But it was a 
home without a father, for Captain Sadler but illy supplied the place of 
the good man that death had taken away. He was illiterate himself, and 
what was worse and more to be deplored, he despised learning. The 
little boy Rufus was not only not sent to school, but, so far as his step- 
father had the power, all opportunities for improvement at liome were 
denied him. No books were furnished him, and, if by chance, he 
obtained them, he was allowed but scant opportunity to use them. His 


aspirations were scoffed at, and his efforts to go to the living fountains to 
slake his thirst for knowledge were ridiculed and derided. Captain Sadler 
kept a house of entertainment, and by diligently waiting upon guests, 
Rufus sometimes became the possessor of a few pennies, which he invested 
in ammunition, and, with the help of an old shotgun, killed partridges. 
These he sold, and with the proceeds of the sales he bought a spelling- 
book and an arithmetic. From these, without help or guidance, he 
learned what he could. There were many discouragem.ents thrown in the 
way of his doing even so much as this. He was not allowed even the 
faint light of a tallow candle to enable him to use, in his own behalf the 
long winter evenings. But worse than this and harder to bear was the 
ridicule which he was made to bear from him who stood to him in the 
place of a father. Yet all that did not avail to make him give up his 
determination to know. The divine spark was in him, and could not be 
quenched or destroyed. There is something very pathetic in the earnest 
striving after knowledge of this little, fatherless boy, in the face of dis- 
couragements that might well have daunted the brave heart of one that 
was older. In his latter days he wrote out an account of some of the 
main parts of his life, for the benefit of his children and descendants. The 
manuscript, with its yellow paper, is before the writer, and will be not 
infrequently quoted in the progress of this writing. He says: "After I 
was nine years old, I went to school in all only three weeks." Yet, by 
dint of persevering effort, he went as far as "the rule of three" in arith- 
metic and learned to write so as to be intelligible, even when quite young, 
and subsequently he became sufficiently master of the English language 
and the art of expressing thought therein on paper, to leave letters and 
manuscripts behind him that will, in vigor of thought and clearness of 
expression, compare favorably with the productions of educated men of 
the same period. 

In March, 1754, when in his sixteenth year, Rufus was apprenticed to 
Daniel Matthews of Brookfield, to learn the trade of millwright. He 
says: " By him my education was as much neglected as by Captain Sadler, 
except that he did not deny me the use of a light for study in the winter 
evenings. I turned my attention chiefly to arithmetic, geography and 
history. Had I been as much engaged in learning to write, with spelling 
and grammar, I might have been much better qualified to fulfill the duties 
of the succeeding scenes of life which, in providence, I have been called 
to pass through. I was zealous to obtain knowledge, but having no 


guide, I knew not where to begin nor what course to pursue. Having 
neglected spelling and grammar when I was young, I have suffered much 
through life on that account." The account is closed with a pathetic 
appeal to his descendants: "Oh! my children, beware you neglect not 
the education of any under your care, as I was neglected." 

From sixteen to nineteen Rufus Putnam was engaged in learning the 
trade of a millwright, interspersed with more or less farming. How 
much soever the mental faculties suffered from neglect during this period, 
the physical powers were in health and prospered to an unusual degree. 
When he was eighteen, Rufus had the stature and strength of a mature 
man. He was nearly six feet in height, with brawny limbs and great 
muscular power. He was as good as the best in all feats that required 
strength of muscle or power of endurance. A brave heart beat in his 
bosom, and in his soul there was the high resolve to act justly toward all 
and always be found on the side of right. From the beginning to the 
end of his career, he was never known to prove recreant to a trust, or fail 
to fulfill faithfully and well' the requirements of any duty that devolved 
upon him. The hardships of his early life were schoolmasters to fit him, 
in many ways, for what lay stretched out before him in the future. He 
was toughened for the life of peril and adventure that a common soldier 
in a frontier army was compelled to encounter, for the time drew near 
when he was to lay aside the implements of trade and husbandry and take 
up the weapons of war. 




The conflict known as the "Seven Years' War" in Europe, on the 
American continent is known as the "French and Indian War. " The 
origin and object of the struggle on the eastern continent were diverse 
from those on the western. 

Frederick the Great, king of Prussia, had wrested the important prov- 
ince of Silesia from Maria Theresa, empress of Austria. When she thought 
that a propitious time for retaking it had come, she made the attempt. 
One European nation after another took sides, and the war became gen- 
eral. There was also a difference between England and France in regard 
to power and possession in India. In America, the war was a contest 
between France and England for the possession of the valley of the Ohio. 
Finally, all the Catholic powers of Europe, together with Russia, were 
on one side ; Frederick and England on the other. The war thus became 
a struggle between Protestantism and Catholicism — between the new ideas 
and the old — between freedom of thought and worship and the rule of one 
over many — between the right of self-government and deference to indi- 
vidual opinion and the worn-out feudal principle of the elevation of the 
prince at the expense of the people. 

Frederick was the leader and champion of Protestantism on the conti- 
nent. For him prayers ascended from the humble homes of Christians 
in New England — prayers that the God of battles would give him success 
in every endeavor. 

The treaty of Aix la Chapelle, concluded in 1748, had left unsettled the 
greater part of the differences that had caused the war. So far as En- 
gland was concerned, almost the only gain was the acknowledgment on 
the part of France that the House of Hanover had the right to the throne 
of England. From that time the pretender sank into oblivion and had 
no following. The treaty was, however, unsatisfactory to all the parties 


concerned, and proved to be scarcely more than an armistice. Only a 
few years passed till war broke out afresh. 

It was by no means the beginning of strife between France and England 
for the possession of territory on the western continent. There had been 
struggles between the two parties, with varying results, as to the owner- 
ship of tracts in the north. Now the gauge of battle was the fair lands 
that border La Belle Riviere. In regard to the claims of the two parties to 
the country in dispute, looking at it from a moral point of view, it would 
be difficult to take sides with either. Sympathy rather goes out to the 
poor red men, who were to be despoiled by whichsoever party proved 
itself most able in the fight. To them, of right, the whole belonged. 

The claim of France rested upon discovery and nominal possession. 
Joliet and Marquette, in 1673, had gone from the head waters of the Fox 
river to the upper tributaries of the Wisconsin, down which river they 
went a seven days' journey to the Mississippi, and for an entire month, in 
their light canoe, continued their perilous journey. Passing the mouth of 
the Arkansas, they terminated their voyage at the thirty-third parallel of 
latitude. Returning, they entered the mouth of the Illinois and went up 
that stream. Finally they reached Lake Michigan and the present site of 
Chicago. Their journey did not give them the opportunity of deciding 
whether the Mississippi emptied into the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific 
ocean. It was left for Robert de la Salle to solve that problem. This 
brave adventurer, in a second effort, went down the Illinois td its junction 
with the Mississippi, and the Father of Waters carried him and his men 
on his bosom till he brought them to where he loses himself in the Gulf 
of Mexico — a grand performance on the part of La Salle, which ought 
to make his name famous through all the ages. 

The country thus revealed to her, through the courage and enterprise 
of her brave sons, France speedily endeavored to make a sure possession. 
Posts had previously been established in the north at Frontenac and 
Niagara and the Straits of Mackinaw. Having already settlements in the 
south, they wished to connect the two by a line of forts extending from 
the lakes, by way of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and so shut up the 
English between the Atlantic ocean and the Alleghany mountains. These 
discoveries and possessions formed the basis of the claims of the French. 

The claims of the English rested upon as baseless a fabric as those of 
the French. The discoveries of the Cabots and others on the Atlantic 
coast, they claimed, gave them the right of ownership to all the territory 


lying between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Some of the charters of the 
original colonies extended the grants from ocean to ocean. But when the 
contest with France began, the English shifted their ground. They then 
claimed the territory because of purchases from and treaties with the 
Indians. As early as 1726, the Iroquois, or Six Nations, were induced 
to give a formal deed by which these western lands were conveyed to 
England, in trust, "to be defended and protected by his majesty to and 
for the use of the grantors and their heirs." To be sure, this deed was 
somewhat invalidated by the fact of the doubt as to whether the Iroquois 
had any right to transfer the valley of the Ohio to any one. They did 
not hold it in actual possession, and there were other tribes that did, and 
they claimed that the Iroquois had never conquered them and had no 
right or title to a foot of the land. 

Another claim of the English was based upon actual purchase. A 
treaty was made in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1744, the contracting par- 
ties representing the same interests as in the previous case. One William 
Marshe, who went as secretary to the commissioners of Maryland, has 
given a full account of the journey thither and the proceedings afterward. 
Time, that destroys so much, has left the account intact. After describ- 
ing the tribulations of the journey — among which were bad roads and 
"villainous bacon," which, however, was mollified by "fresh eggs and 
fine tongues and hams," and "serry rum and water called bumbo" — he 
gives an accaunt of their arrival in Lancaster and the subsequent proceed- 
ings. He says: " After eating a good dinner" — we are glad to hear that 
he had a good dinner to gladden his heart — "|and engaged lodgings," 
they went out to take a look at the town, which had then been settled 
some sixteen years. They "found it well laid out, but very dirty and 
inhabited by a mixture of Dutch, Scotch, Irish, English and Israelites. 
Most of the houses were of wood, two stories high, and dirty." It would 
seem that each of the colonies represented at this time made separate 
terms with the Indians. It will be remembered that these eastern colo- 
nies still considered the Pacific ocean their western boundary. The com- 
missioners from Maryland agreed to pay two hundred pounds for the land 
upon which any settlements had been or should be made in their province. 
Those from Virginia paid two hundred pounds in gold and the value of a 
like sum in goods, with the promise of additional payments as the settle- 
ments increased. How much "bumbo" was given to the Indians in order 


to secure a state of mellowness that would induce them to make such a 
treaty, the narrator does not say. 

Such was the famous treaty of Lancaster upon which so much stress 
was subsequently laid. Here was an actual sale and veritable payments 
received. This and the previous grant of the Six Nations constituted the 
sum and substance of English claims to the Ohio valley and adjacent terri- 
tories. So far as present needs and wishes were concerned, the English 
colonies did not expect to cultivate the soil. They only wished to be 
favorably situated to carry on trade with the Indians. The French had 
found the sam.e a lucrative business, and the cupidity of the English made 
them wish not merely to share but to monopolize the commerce. Previ- 
ous to this period, in 1748, Thomas Lee and twelve other Virginians — 
including Lawrence and Augustine Washington, the brothers of George 
Washington, together with a Mr. Hanbury, a rich merchant of London — 
had formed an association called the " Ohio Company. " The company 
petitioned the king for a grant of land west of the mountains. Their 
prayer was heard and favorably answered. The governor of Virginia was 
ordered to grant the petitioners a half million acres of land within the 
bounds of the colony, beyond the Alleidianies; two hundred thousand 
acres, to be located at once, to be held for ten }'ears, free of quitrent, 
provided the company placed thereon one hundred families and built a 
fort for their protection. The first public service upon which George 
Washington was employed was undertaken in behalf of this company. 
He was then only nineteen years of age. The fidelity and tact with 
which he performed the duties growing out of this mission were an earnest 
indication of what might be expected of him when he had reached a 
maturer age and was called to more important duties. 

This movement on the part of the English stirred up the French to 
adopt new measures to establish their claim. One of their methods for 
doing so was of a rather novel character. Louis Celoron was sent out to 
place leaden plates at the mouths of rivers and on mounds, upon which 
plates were engraved the claims of his high mightiness the king of France. 
Long afterwards one of these'plates was found at the mouth of the Mus- 
kingum, bearing the date August, 1749. They reasoned that by establish- 
ing a claim to the river at its mouth, they made sure of all the territory 
bordering not only that particular river, but all its affluents — a broad 
claim, certainly, for so narrow a base. But the English were not inclined 
to surrender their demands on account of these harmless pieces of lead. 


The lead must be administered in quite another fashion to induce them to 
surrender and give over the contest. 

Each party prepared to dispute the claims of the other. The French, 
starting from their headquarters at Presque Isle (now Erie, Pennsylvania), 
built a fortress which they called Le Bceuf,on a tributary of the Allegheny; 
following down the stream to its junction with the Allegheny, they built 
another fort — Venango. From here they proceeded to a British post on 
the Miami, broke up the settlements and sent the men in the garrison, as 
prisoners, to Canada ; or, as some authorities have it, put them to death. 
The Ohio Company also were awake to the importance of vigorous effort 
to secure their western possessions. They sent out a party of thirty-three 
men, under the command of a man named Trent. The object of the 
expedition was to build a fort at the forks of the Ohio. So urgent did the 
enterprise seem, that the men were sent out at mid-winter. The youthful 
Washington had seen and proclaimed the importance of this position. 
He says : "I spent some time in viewing the rivers and the land at the 
fork, which I think extremely well situated for a fort, as it has absolute 
command of both rivers. . . . The rivers are each a quarter of a 
mile or more across, and run here very nearly at right angles, the Alle- 
gheny bearing northeast and the Monongahela southeast. The former of 
these two is a very rapid and swift-running stream, the other deep and 
still, without any perceptible fall." 

This point was looked upon by both parties as the key to the Ohio 
valley, and whichsoever gained that could control the whole. 

The English party began their preparations for building the fort in all 
haste, but they were foiled in their attempt. The fort was still in a very 
immature condition when, spring having melted the ice in the Allegheny, 
the French came swooping down from Venango, their fleet having been 
all ready and waiting for the melting of the waters. The feeble garrison, 
in a fort in so unfinished a condition, were unable successfully to resist 
the attack. The English surrendered and the French took possession and 
went on to complete the fort, to which they gave the name of Duquesne, 
in honor of the governor of Canada. 

As soon as might be. Colonel Washington was commissioned to raise a 
force and go out and recapture the fort. The difficulties in the way of 
accomplishing this were many. The roads were wretched, and over them 
the men were compelled to drag the cannon to be used in the attack they 
expected to make on the fort. It was not until the last of May that 


Washington reached the Great Meadows. There he learned that a French 
force had been sent out from the garrison to meet and, if possible, defeat 
him. In consequence, Washington sent out scouts to scour the country 
and bring him information in regard to the enemy's movements. Mean- 
while, he advanced cautiously on the road leading to the fort. The 
French also were on the alert. A detachment was soon met. Washing- 
ton, with his musket in his hand, advanced to meet them at the head of 
his command. They were soon within fighting distance. The forest 
echoed the young commander's order, "Fire!" The hills repeated the 
sound, but had not done so until the command was obeyed. The conflict 
was of short duration. Jumonville, the leader of the French, was killed, 
and ten of his men ; twenty-one were made prisoners. That was the first 
blood shed in the French and Indian war, which lasted seven years. It 
was also the beginning of the military career of George Washington. 

Although the victor in this unimportant skirmish, Washington learned 
enough of the condition of the fort to know that there was no possibility 
of his being able to attack it successfully with the small number of men 
in his command. He went to work, therefore, to build a fort where he 
was, hoping that he could so intrench himself as to hold it until reinforce- 
ments could arrive. To it he gave the name of Fort Necessity. Here 
he waited for supplies and additional troops. He waited in vain ; they 
did not come. 

Meanwhile French troops were gathering in large numbers at Fort Du- 
quesne. Finally, Washington was attacked and compelled to capitulate. 
But he obtained honorable terms, and on the fourth of July the little band 
of soldiers marched out of Fort Necessity with all their accoutrements. 
The French now considered themselves secure in the possession of this 
important point in western Pennsylvania, and employed themselves in 
strengthening their forts at Crown Point, Niagara and elsewhere. 

To the wise men in the colonies it had been evident long before this 
that the indispensable thing for the welfare of the colonies was union. 
The want of it was a source of weakness, and would prevent successful 
effort in every direction. Benjamin Franklin was one of the stoutest 
advocates. Very much through his influence a convention was called to 
meet in Albany. There was a two-fold object in the meeting. First, to 
renew the treaty with the Iroquois and bind them more securely to their 
interest; and, secondly, to form a union so as to bring about concerted 
action on the part of the colonies; for by this time it was evident to the 


most superficial observer that a struggle with the French was imminent, 
and that when it came, it would be no child's play. 

Franklin was appointed to draft a constitution that would bind together 
the colonies and bring about united effort. The constitution was drawn 
up and accepted by the delegates, but when submitted to their constit- 
uents it was rejected by them because it gave too much power to the king, 
and it met with the same fate at the hands of the king because it allowed 
too much authority to the people. 

War was fairly begun in 1754, and England made vigorous effort at the 
beginning of the following year to secure a successful campaign. Four 
expeditions were planned. Lawrence, governor of Nova Scotia, was to 
complete the conquest of that province. William Johnson of New York 
was to take Crown Point, with the aid of the Mohawk Indians. To 
Shirley of Massachusetts was given the task of driving the French from 
Fort Niagara, while General Braddock, at the head of two regiments of 
regulars, aided by a considerable force of Continentals, was to drive out 
the French and take possession of Fort Duquesne. 

The peculiar regulations of the British authorities prevented the colo- 
nists from enlisting in large numbers. It was ordered that provincial 
captains and colonels should have no rank when serving in the British 
army. Washington left the service in disgust, but his ardent patriotism 
induced him afterward to volunteer as an aid to General Braddock. The 
disastrous result of that expedition is too well known to need recapitula- 
tion. It was only through the courage, knowledge and tact of Washing- 
ton that any part of the army was saved. The only successful enterprise 
during the year was that of Johnson. A victory was gained over Deskeau, 
yet it was not so much the skill of the general that brought about that 
result as the bravery of his New England troops. Johnson was wounded, 
not severely, early in the engagements, and the brave New Englanders 
fought on without a commander till they conquered the enemy. Deskeau 
was defeated, but the fort was not even attacked. Stark and Putnam were 
in the battle to take their first lessons in the art of war and prepare them- 
selves for the brave deeds they were yet to do when other interests were 
at stake. 

The expedition of Braddock, disastrous as it was in its results, had a 
hidden meaning, easily seen afterwards by those who see in the events of 
history the influence of a supreme and over-ruling power. The chief, who 
was afterward to lead his countrymen against those who were now acting 


as his instructors, had here an opportunity of learning the art of war. 
He could have had no better teacher than General Braddock. He was a 
regular martinet, skilled in all the tactics and rules of warfare. There 
was scarcely anything that books could teach him that he did not know, 
and he had had a large experience in drilling and training men. It is 
difficult to see how Washington could have become so versed in military 
affairs as to be fitted to take the command of armies and lead his country, 
men to victories that laid the foundation of a great republic, without the 
experience that he gained under Braddock and others in this French and 
Indian war. Nor was he the only learner. In another part of the field 
Israel Putnam and John Stark, with thousands of others, were gaining the 
knowledge that was to help them to act well their part in the great 
struggle that was just before them. 

After the death of Braddock, Shirley was appointed to the chief com- 
mand. Only disaster marked the year 1755. Braddock ruined one army 
and Shirley scattered another. The only gain was the victory of Johnson 
at Lake George, and he did not accomplish the object for which he was sent. 

The year 1756 was begun with large plans and a new commander. The 
Earl of Loudon was general-in-chief Abercrombie was^ second in rank. 
The plans for the year included the taking of forts Frontenac, Toronto 
and Niagara, also Fort Duquesne, Detroit and Mackinaw. And now, 
after hostilities had been in progress for two years, war was formally 
declared between France and England. 

Early in the season the French took Oswego, on the southern shore of 
Lake Ontario. The western Indians, commanded by the French, invaded 
western Pennsylvania and spread alarm and devastation all along the 
border; scalping parties came within thirty miles of Philadelphia. Wash- 
ington was employed in protecting, as well as he could, western Virginia, 
and Colopel Armstrong led a force against the Indians in Pennsylvania, 
and so far subdued them as to put a stop to their atrocities. The new 
commander. Lord Loudon, showed neither zeal nor ability. I'ranklin 
said of him: "He was entirely made up of indecision. Like St. George 
on the signs, he was always on horseback but never rode on." 

The time for which Rufus Putnam was indentured expired in 1757, the 
period now reached in the account of the war. The successes of the 
French and the disasters of the English caused widespread alarm through- 
out New England, as well as in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Several of 
the colonies made vigorous efforts to raise both men and money for the 


war, but their want of union and concerted action paralyzed, to a great 
extent, their exertions. Besides, continental officers and men were 
allowed no authority in planning or conducting enterprises, and the British 
officers were not only inefficient but ignorant of the methods necessary to 
be resorted to in the new circumstances in which they were placed. 

We can well suppose that the incidents of the war then in progress 
formed the staple of conversation in the evenings and leisure hours of 
Rufus Putnam and his fellow apprentices. As for Rufus, the spark of 
military ambition slumbered in his bosom, and the adventures and hair- 
breadth escapes of those who were participants in the struggle, especially 
the prowess of his father's cousin, Israel Putnam, kindled it to a flame. 
He enlisted. We shall let him tell his own story of what he did and suf- 
fered during the campaign. A diary kept day by day during the time is 
a rare thing to be met with. The century and more that has passed since 
it was written has left many wrecks in its pathway. But this journal 
remains, the paper yellow from time, and the chirography by no means 
elegant and the spelling not always correct; it yet shows marks of care 
and exactness that are prophetic of the careful and thorough work which 
would distinguish the writer in the future that lay before him. Rufus Put- 
nam was but nineteen years of age at the time of his enlistment, but his 
fine physical development, his courage and strength, made him a proper 



March 15, 1757. The war between England and France, wliich com- 
menced in 1754, still continuing, I engaged in the provincial service to 
serve to the second day of February following. I was attached to Captain 
Ebenezer Learned's company of one hundred men. 

April 30, he marched from Brookfield and reached Kinderhook, about 
eighteen miles below Albany, on the sixtli of iV'Iay. During our stav 
in Kinderhook, Captain Learned prayed witli his company inorning and 
evening, 'and on the Sabbath read a sermon (Oh, how the times have 
changed! ). 

May 10, the company left Kinderhook and arrived the same da\- at 
Greenbush, opposite the city of Albany. 

May 21, our company reached Seacook, a Dutch settlement on the 
Hoosac river, three miles from the Hudson, deserted by tlie inhaliitants 
on account of the war. 

June 9, the company joined Colonel Fry at Stillwater, on the eleventh, 
marched to Saratoga, a place since famous in history for the capture of a 
British army under the command of General Burgoyne, in 1777. 

June 14, Colonel Fry's regiment, consisting of seventeen companies, 
left Saratoga, and on the fifteenth arrived at Fort Edward. 

July 10. Being a volunteer in the ranging service, I was detached as a 
scout for six days under Lieutenant Collins with twent\'-two men. We 
marched on the route toward South bay about ten miles and encamped. 

July 9. After marching about ten miles further, he sent three of us for- 
ward to go to the bay and bring him an account of the distance to it. That 
we might go the lighter, we left our blankets and provisions with the 
scout, but the distance was much greater than was expected, and we were 
unable to return before sunset to the place where we left the party. They 
were gone and had carried off our blankets and provisions ; the officer had 
taken fright and run away, supposing we were killed or taken prisoners. 
We attempted to track them but to no purpose. Believing that they 
could not be far off, we fired a gun but received no answer. Our situation 
was by no means agreeable, having nothing to cover us from the gnats and 
mosquitoes (with which that country abounds beyond description) but a 
shirt and breechclout. 


July lo. We fired guns, but to no purpose, and spent the forenoon in 
search for their trail, but in vain. 

July 12. We returned to Fort Edward, having been forty-eight hours 
without anything to eat, and spent two nights in company with gnats and 

July 12. Collins came with the rest of the party ; they confessed they 
had heard our evening gun, but supposed that the Indians had gotten us 
and were after them, in consequence of which they took their way to Fort 
William Henry, and there reported that we were either killed or taken. 
Mr. Collins' reputation undoubtedly suffered, but he easily pacified us 
and we did not complain. However, when an officer is brought to solicit 
his soldiers not to complain of him, he must feel small in his own eyes as 
well as contemptible in the eyes of others. It was undoubtedlj' extremely 
unsoldierlike to leave us in the woods in the manner he did. If our long 
absence gave cause of alarm, he ought to have withdrawn but a short dis- 
tance and placed himself in ambush and to have posted two men under 
cover to watch our return or the approach of the enemy, had any appeared. 

July 23. About eight o'clock in the morning, a large party of Indians 
fired on the guard of the carpenters within one mile of the fort; we had 
thirteen killed and one missing. This was the first sight I had of the In- 
dian butcherings and it was not very agreeable to the feelings of a young 
soldier, and I think there are few, if any, who can view such scenes with 

The enemy left none of their dead or wounded behind. In the after- 
noon, about two hundred and fifty men, under the command of Captain 
Israel Putnam, marched in pursuit ; we marched on the Indian trail until 
sunset ; Captain Putnam then ordered three of us to follow the trail a mile 
or more further and there lie close till it was quite dark, and to observe if 
any came back, " for," said he, " if they do not embark in their boats to- 
night, they will send a party back to see if they are pursued." W'e went 
according to orders, but made no discovery. And here I would remark 
that Captain Putnam's precaution struck my mind very forcibly as a maxim 
always to be observed, whether you are pursuing or pursued by an enemy, 
especially in the woods. It was the first idea of generalship that I remem- 
ber to have treasured up. 

August 3. This morning a F"rench army, said to be about fifteen thous- 
and, besides a large body of Indians from Canada, laid siege to Fort 
William Henry. The siege continued till the ninth, when the garrison 

Fort William Henry stood on the margin of Lake George, near the south- 
west corner, thirteen and three-fourth miles from Fort Edward and about 
seventy miles from Albany. It was a regular square with four bastions. 
The walls consisted of timber and earth, with ditch, etc. , capable for a time 
of resisting a cannonade or bombardment. The garrison consisted of 
between three and four hundred British regulars. Most half a mile east 


of the fort, separated from it by a swamp and creek, were about fifteen 
hundred provincials encamped within a low breastwork of logs. On these 
the French made no attack, and they might at any time have forced their 
way through the enemy posted in the quarter. But the next morning, 
August 10, as the Provincials were paraded to march to Fort Edward, 
agreeably to terms of capitulation, the Indians fell on them and a most 
horrid butchery ensued ; those who escaped with their lives were stripped 
almost naked, many in making their escape were lost in the woods, where 
they wandered several days without food; one man in particular was out 
ten days, and there is reason to believe that some perished, in particular the 
wounded. But the number murdered and missing were never known tome. 

General Webb lay all the time of the siege at Fort Edwards, with not 
less than four thousand men, according to my judgment, and for a con- 
siderable part of the time with a larger number by the coming up of the 
militia of New York. General Webb was informed every day, by an 
express from Colonel Munroe, of the progress of the siege and of the 
affairs at the lake. He knew that the French had attempted nothing on the 
Provincial camp. It was the opinion of many of the officers that he might 
have relieved the fort, and that he was much to blame for not attempting 
it. The general idea among us soldiers was that he was a coward ; nor 
did he show more humanity than courage, for he took no care to bury the 
men butchered in the manner above mentioned, or to seek after the 
wounded should there be any lying among the dead. I was on the ground 
a short time after, and saw the dead bodies lying as neglected as if they 
were wild beasts. 

The Provincials lost all confidence in General Webb, and many of them 
deserted. I was at one time on the point of deserting, but was providen- 
tially prevented. 

October 8. The Provincial ranging companies were discharged, and I did 
camp duty until the twenty-first, when I joined a company of carpenters 
until November 10, when the fort being finished the carpenters were all 
discharged from the public works. 

Fort Edward stood on the easterly bank of the Hudson or North river, 
about si.xty-six miles above Albany. The river washed one side of its 
wall ; its form was somewhat irregular, having two bastions and two half 
bastions. The walls were high and thick, composed of hewn timber and 
earth, a broad rampart \\ith casement, a deep ditch with a drawbridge 
and a covered way. 

I have been particular in this description, because in 1777 there was by 
no means so great an appearance of there having been a fortification there 
as we find in the ancient works at Marietta and other parts of the Ohio 

November 10. The remnant of Colonel Fry's regiment (himself and 
most of his regiment having been made prisoners at Fort William Henry) 
marched down to the Half Moon, twelve miles above Albany. 


November i8. Three hundred and sixty of us were drafted into four 
companies and ordered to different posts for winter quarters. This was a 
great and unexpected disappointment, for, although our enHstments ran 
to the second of February, we expected to be discharged at the close of 
the campaign. Captain Learned's company was ordered up to Stillwater. 
But I with several others engaged in the king's works at the Half Moon, 
and did not join my company until the twenty-ninth of December. 

January i, 1758. We kept the day with joy and wished for candlemas, 
being suspicious that there was a design to hold us in the service longer 
than our engagement ; and being determined to get away if possible, and, 
knowing that if we attempted it by the common road through Albany, 
we should be stopped by the regular troops in that quarter, our plan was 
to march by the way of Hoosac, and the snow being now deep and daily 
increasing, the month of January was employed in preparing snow-shoes 
for the journey. We lay in huts a short distance from a stockade fort, gar- 
risoned by our company of regulars, commanded by Captain Skean, after- 
wards Major Skean, proprietor of Skeanborough, South Bay. 

Captain Learned, who had been home on a furlough, joined his company 
January 5. He approved of our plan of going off on the third of February, 
and pledged himself to lead us in the retreat, unless he could obtain our 
discharge. I then thought much of him, but I have since learned to des- 
pise him. For an officer to desert is unpardonable. 

Februar}' 2. We were all ordered into the fort, and Captain Skean read 
us a part of a letter he had received from General Abercrombie, the pur- 
port of which was, "you are hereby required to persuade the Massachu- 
setts men under your command to tarry a few days longer until I shall 
hear from their government and know what their government intends to 
do with them." To this it was answered he is a good soldier that serves 
his time out, and that the province had nothing to do with us, neither 
would we tarry any longer. We were then threatened with death if we 
went off without a regular discharge, and then ordered to our huts. 

If Captain Skean had been in earnest with respect to detaining, it is hard 
to account for his taking no forcible measures when we were paraded in 
the fort, nor was there any search made for our snow shoes. It is true 
our huts were under a high bank out of sight of the fort, and we kept our 
snow-shoes concealed under the snow, and possibly he knew nothing of 
them and concluded our route would be by Albany. 

February 3. About three o'clock in the morning, we marched off as 
silentl_v as possible under the conduct of Captain Learned and Lieutenant 
Walker, being seventy in number, leaving Dr. Brown who did not choose 
to beofour party, andafew invalidsbehind. We had an interval to cross for 
about half a mile to the Hudson, exposed to the cannon of the first, had 
our retreat been discovered and they disposed to fire on us. This made 
it necessary to retreat in the night; as to any trouble from the garrison in 
any other respect, there was no danger, because their number was not 


equal to ours. We had no provisions but what we had pinched out of our 
daily allowance, which was very short. Wt had, perhaps, on an average, 
between two and three days' allowance. It was called thirty miles to 
Hoosac fort, a stockade fort on Hoosac river, belonging to Massachusetts; 
our calculation was to reach this place in two days. 

On the first day's march we met with nothing extraordinary except that 
the snow was deeper than we expected, the foremost man sank half leg 
deep in the snow, but the tenth man had a good path. 

February 4. Second da\''s march. — This was a' very snowy, stormy 
day, and in passing some deserted settlement we left the river some con- 
siderable distance on the right. After passing these settlements we bore 
away for the Hoosac river. The river was the only guide we depended on 
to find Fort Hoosac, and not suspecting that we had missed our way, we 
pushed forward in hopes of arriving at the fort that night. But we were 
disappointed. Captain Learned killed two turkej-s in the course of the 

February 5. Third day's march. — Started very early ; confident of 
being at the fort before noon. However, noon and night came but no 
fort ; we killed one turkey and pitched camp with heavy hearts, fearing 
that we had missed our way. Our provisions were nearly exhausted ; the 
weather, exceedingly cold and stormy — several men froze their feet- — one 
man fell in the river and lost one of his snow-shoes, from which he suffered 

February 6. Fourth day's march. — Continuing up this stream until 
noon, we came to a considerable fork, which left little doubt that we had 
missed our way ; however, for further satisfaction, we went up one of the 
branches some distance, until it became so small as to remove all doubt, 
and then returned to the fork mentioned above. Captain Learned then 
addressed the company in substance as follows : 

It evidently appears that we are on a wrong stream, and we must be, at least, thirty miles north of 
Hoosac fort; but do not be discouraged, for my life on it, if the men hold out to travel four or five days, 
if I don't bring you to see the inhabitants of New England; however, if any man has a mind to turn back 
to Stillwater, he may go and welcome, for my part I would die in the woods. 

We all agreed to follow him, and leaving the river (on which is now the 
town of Bennington, in the state of Vermont) we steered a southwest 
course, climbing several steep hills, and about sunset we arrived on the 
top of a mountain, which appeared to be the highest point of land. The 
weather was extremely cold and the snow five feet deep. 

February 7. Fifth day's march — Thirty of us made a breakfast this 
morning on a poor, little turkey, without salt or bread. Traveling south- 
west about five miles, we came to a very small stream issuing from the 
mountain and running southwest, following down the stream, which, in- 
creased by several others, by night had become a considerable river. We 
had had nothing to eat since morning but beech nuts and a few high cran- 
berries. Night found us very faint and much fatigued; but for all that our 


courage held out and our hopes from the course and increase of the stream 
we had fallen on. 

February 8. Sixth day's march — The river wound through a broken, 
hilly, country and the general course was not favorable according to our 
opinion. The weather was very cold and stormy ; the traveling, in gen- 
eral, very bad all day ; the men were so feeble and lame with frozen feet, 
that but few of them were able to break track, so that we began to be 
fearful that we should not be able to reach any settlement for some days, 
and had we not have had some relief by traveling a part of the way on the 
river, it is highly probable some of them would have perished. We had 
one — and but one— dog along with us ; he was large and very fat, and this 
evening he fell a sacrifice to our necessities. Our custom on this march 
was to encamp ten men at a fire. The dog was carefully butchered and 
divided into seven parts, except the entrails which the butcher had for his 
fees. These he brought to our fire, and ten of us made a very good supper 
of their fat, without bread or salt. 

February 9. Seventh day's march — In the morning ten of us break- 
fasted on one of the dog's hind feet and leg cut off at the gumbrel, which, 
being roasted in the ashes, and pounded so as to separate the bones of 
the foot, was very palatable. We had very good traveling that day, 
chiefly on the river. The snow was not deep, and about noon we saw 
some trees that had been cut for shingles, the sight of which revived our 
drooping spirits, as we judged from this circumstance there must be some 
settlement not very far distant. About sunset we came to the mouth of 
a small stream on our left, which one of the corporals said he knew to be 
Pelham brook, and that we were not more than three miles from Hank's 
fort, on Deerfield river, which empties into the Connecticut river at Deer- 

On this information the captain with great prudence — for not more than 
a dozen or fifteen of us were yet come up, and although we might have 
gone in with safety yet it must probably ha\-e been at the loss of some 
that had fallen in the snow, on account of their feebleness and frosted feet 
— the captain, therefore, ordered the corporal and two others to go on to the 
fort and make provisions for our arrival in the morning, and the rest to 
build fires for the night. Fortunately all the men came up by daylight. 
This night the ten men at our fire made a little soup for supper of the 
thigh bone of the dog and a portion of the back bone of pork, seasoned 
with ginger, which relished exceedingly well. With respect to the meat 
of a dog, I have, ever since I had this experience, believed it to be very 
good eating and that I could at any time eat it without disgust, 

February 10. The eighth day's march — Some people from the fort met 
us on our march, with bread and meat sliced up, and gave to each man a 
piece of each. This was well timed, not only as a friendly act in giving 
us relief as early as possible ; it also served to check the rage of appetite, 
by which many have injured themselves by a full meal after long starva- 


tion. We arrived at Hawk's fort about ten o'clock, where we were kindly 
entertained. As before observed, many of the men had their feet badly 
frosted early on the march, and some before we set out; one in particular, 
Ichabod Dexter, who was one of my messmates, and whose pack I car- 
ried with my own through the whole march, and yet I was among the 
foremost in the march, and, although I was hungry, I never failed in vigor 
and activity, and this, I have always thought, was owing, in a measure, to 
the following circumstance: We had in my mess perhaps a pound of 
honey, in a wooden bottle, and after our provisions failed we dipped the 
end of a rod, not into a honey-comb, like Jonathan, but into the bottle, 
and put it to our mouths. 

February 15. I arrived at my old master's in Brookfield. I had en- 
joyed my health in a remarkable manner, and in some instances been 
wonderfully preserved ; but I do not recollect that I made any acknow- 
ledgments to my Benefactor and Preserver. 

Disaster followed disaster to the English during 1757. At the close of 
the campaign they had nothing, neither fortress or hamlet, in the \'alley 
of St. Lawrence. Every English-speaking inhabitant had been swept 
from the Ohio valley. France was in possession of twenty times as 
much territory as England, and five times as much as England and Spain 
together. There was great discouragement in England, and George II. 
finally yielded to the clamor of the people and called William Pitt, the 
"great commoner" to form a new cabinet, much against his inclination, 
and after the country had been for some weeks without a government. 
Pitt's influence was soon felt. New life was put into all the machinery of 
government. The inefficient Lord Loudon was removed, and General 
Abercrombie was put in command of the arm)'. Lord Howe, brave and 
accomplished, was ne.xt in command. General Wolfe was at the head of 
a brigade, and General Amherst had a division. General Forbes com- 
manded an important detachment and Colonel Richard Montgomery a 

Fresh zeal and effort were shown also in America. They were enthu- 
siastic in their admiration for Pitt, and their confidence was unbounded. 
Twenty-five thousand troops were raised and added to the twenty-five 
thousand brought from England, so that Abercrombie found himself in 
command of an army of fifty thousand. The entire force of the enemy 
did not exceed twenty thousand. 

The New Englanders were not afraid of taxes when they assessed them 
themselves. Massachusetts did not like a funded debt. They therefore 
raised the needed supply of money by taxation. P"or the expenses of the 
war, in one year, on personal property thirteen shillings and four pence 
was assessed on a pound of income; on two hundred pounds income from 
real estate, seventy-two pounds, besides excises and poll-tax. Count cti- 
cut was ta.xed equally heavily. Later, in 1759, a stamp act was passed in 



April io, 1758. Notwithstanding my late sufferings in my return 
home, I engaged for another campaign in the Provincial service — in Cap- 
tain Whitcomb's company, Colonel Ruggles' regiment. The regiment 
rendezvoused at Northampton. Our company arrived there the twenty- 
seventh of May, and started for Albany June 3, and arrived at Greenbush, 
opposite Albany, June 8. From Northampton to this place was through 
a wilderness. There was but one house in the whole distance, except a 
little fort on the Housatonic river. 

June 12. I was with the other carpenter's regiment (about eight 
hundred in number), detached and sent forward under the command of 
Lieutenant Pool. We arrived on Lake George the twenty-second, and 
were employed in various works there until the army was ready to embark. 

July 5. This morning the army, consisting of about seventeen thousand 
men, embarked in batteaux. It was under the command of General 
Abercrombie, commander-in-chief; Lord Howe was second in command. 
General Gage the third, and Colonel Bradstreet quarter-master-general. 

General Abercrombie was an old man and frequently called " grannie." 
Lord Howe was the idol of the army. In him they placed the utmost con- 
fidence. From the few days I had to observe his manner of conducting, 
it is not extravagant to suppose that every soldier in the army had a per- 
sonal attachment to him. He frecjuently came among the carpenters, and 
his manner was so easy and familiar that you lost all that constraint or 
diffidence we feel when addressed by our superior, whose manners are 

General Gage was a man who never acquired a high reputation, and the 
furious Bradstreet was hated by all the army. 

The army moved down the lake until evening, when the boats were put 
ashore at Sabbath day point, and after refreshing put off and rowed all 

July 6. The army landed at the lower end of Lake George, on both 
sides of the outlet; on our approach a detachment of French retired with- 
out making any opposition. However, as soon as a part of the army 
began to advance into the woods on the west side of the outlet, they were 
met by a party of the enemy, and a skirmish ensued, in which Lord Howe 


was killed. His death struck a great damp on the army. For my own 
part, I was so panic struck that I was willing to remain with the boat 
guard, which in the morning I should have been very unwilling to be de- 
tailed for; however, I soon recovered, at least in a measure, so that I 
volunteered to join the regiment. 

July 8. I found the regiment posted on the west of the mills, with 
Colonel Lyman of Connecticut employed in erecting a breastwork. The 
action at the French breastwork began about twelve o'clock; and once there 
was a constant peal of cannon and musketry for several hours. Late in 
the afternoon there was a party called for to carry ammunition forward to 
the army then in action, and feeling a little concerned lest my reputation 
should suffer for having willingly stayed with the boat guard, I volunteered 
for this service. (I have heard that some men say that they liked to fight 
as well as they liked to eat. I never had any such feelings; so far as I am 
able to judge for myself, it was pride and a wish to excel, or at least to 
come behind none, that influenced me, at that period of life, to be among 
the foremost on all occasions.) When we came to the army, we found that 
they had been repulsed at the breastwork in an attempt to storm the 
enemy's lines, but I had not the least idea of a total defeat. Our regiment 
remained in their breastwork until about midnight and then marched back 
to the shore of Lake George, where we landed on the sixth. 

July 9. As soon as light appeared we discovered that our regiment 
was the rear of the army, who had all retreated in the night, except the 
rangers and one regiment of Provincials left near the French lines. About 
nine o'clock the army was all embarked and returned to the south end of 
Lake George, and thus Abercrombie's expedition ended in disgrace and 
the loss of fifteen hundred men, killed and wounded. At that time I was 
uninformed of the situation of the works or of the mode of attack; and had 
I been informed of all this, considering mj- youth and inexperience, it 
would have been arrogance to have given an opinion. However, afterwards 
viewing the works and being informed of the mode of attack, I have 
judged it the most injudicious and wanton sacrifice of men that ever came 
within my knowledge or reading. Nothing more of consequence was 
attempted in this quarter this season except that the army commenced 
building a fort on the ground occupied by the Provincials in 1757, during 
the siege of Fort William Henry, which they called 1-^ort George. 

July 22. Colonel Ruggles and his regiment marched to Fort Ed- 
ward, and were employed in repairing the roads from thence to Albany 
until October 29, when they were discharged. 

November 9. I arrived at Sutton, my native town, where I made my 
home for some time. Thus was I carried through a second campaign, 
enjoying uninterrupted health, the friendship of my officers, and never 
charged with any crime. But alas! on my journal I cannot find any ac- 
knowledgment to my Divine Benefactor and Preserver, nor as I recollect 
that I had any serious reflection on the subject. 



April 2, 1859. I this day engaged in the Provincial service for the 
third campaign. I was finally attached to Captain William Pages' com- 
pany of Hardwick and in the first battalion of Ruggles' regiment, com- 
manded by Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Ingersol. I did orderly sergeant's 
duty until July 26. I find nothing in my journal worth noting until July 
21, when the army embarked from the south end of Lake George and 
moved down the lake. General Amherst was commander-in-chief, in 
whose orders for embarking appeared so much tenderness and humanity 
as could not but win the heart of every soldier who had any generous 

July 22. The army landed at the outlet of the lake without any oppo- 
sition. The next day the army took possession of the breastwork, where 
they were defeated last year, with very little opposition; and now, from 
viewing with my own eyes, I was convinced of the improper mode of at- 
tack made on it last year, and those men who were sacrificed fell through 
the want of judgment in the general or the rashness of Colonel Bradstreet. 

July 24. Commenced opening our trenches against Fort Ticonderoga. 
26. The platforms were laid in the evening, and our batteries the next 
morning were to open; the enemy had kept up a heavy cannonade since 
the twenty-third. On the morning of the twenty-seventh, at about three 
o'clock, having very silently embarked in boats, they blew up the fort and 
pushed down the lake to Crown Point, where they did not await our com- 
ing, but went almost immediately down Lake Champlain. Their con- 
duct was accounted for on the supposition of their having heard that 
General Wolf was approaching, therefore they could not hope for any 

July 26. Captain Aaron W^illard, a man who knew nothing of the 
business, undertook to build a saw-mill on the lower fall of the outlet of 
Lake George, where it falls into an arm or bay about two miles from the 
beginning of the outlet. I was at first invited to undertake as master- 
workman, under Willard, but I wholly declined. I wanted to go forward 
with the army. Indeed, no arguments prevailed with me until the briga- 
- dier sent an officer to tell me if I would not undertake or go to work I 
should go to the guard-house. The brigadier knew me very well, and I 
had known him for many years ; and I knew it was in vain to contend, nor 
did I like to offend an officer whom I so highly respected, and therefore 
submitted; however, I always esteemed it an arbitrary act, and by no 
means justifiable, to compel a soldier who is a mechanic to work at his 
trade against his will. When the mills were completed and going well 
(with two saws) I was in hopes of being permitted to join my regiment, 
and with that view I obtained a pass to go to Crown Point, where the 
regiment lay (with the army). While I was there I went to see one of 
the block houses that was building. I observed the carpenter was ignorant 
of the right method of dove-tailing the corners. I offered to show him, 
and while I was instructing the man it so happened that Major Kean, 



overseer of the works, came up and, observing what I was about, asked 
me who I was ; and upon my informing him, he proposed engaging me in 
the works carried on at Crown Point, and he obtained permission from 
General Amherst for that purpose. I was much pleased with my cliange 
of situation. If the army moved forward against Canada, I should doubt- 
less go with my regiment; but this was not all. Major Kean had taken 
such personal notice of me, and given such assurances of my being 
rewarded according to my merit as a carpenter, that I felt confident of 
receiving wages according to the services I should render. How much, 
then, was I disappointed when in a few days the engineer at Ticonderoga 
came up and made such representations to General Amherst that I was 
ordered back to the mills ; this was much against my feelings as well as 
interest. Major Kean told the engineer he ought to allow me a dollar a 
day, that he should allow me that if I remained with him. While Cap- 
tain VVillard remained the overseer, from former experience I had very 
little reason to expect any more than the common hands ; but Willard 
was now gone and no commissioned officer having any concern with the 
mills, and after what had taken place at Crown Point, above mentioned, 
I had good reason to expect an extra allowance. The Provincials this 
year were discharged some weeks before the term of their enlistments 
expired. At this time Colonel Robertson, the quartermaster-general, 
came to the mills with the engineer and I engaged with him to tarry an 
indefinite time at one dollar per day, and he tlirected the engineer to pay 
me accordingly; but I was not so prudent as the Indian, Captain Jewles, 
in another case, to request the general to put his promise on paper, where- 
fore when I applied to the engineer the last of November for a settlement 
he allowed me but for three days at a dollar per clay, alleging that I had 
served but three days over my enlistment, although my regiment had been 
discharged some weeks before. Thus was I cheated not only out of an 
extra allowance, which I had good reason to expect after returning from 
Crown Point, but of the contract made by Colonel Robertson, and which 
the engineer was directed to discharge. I began to work the twenty-sixth 
of July; I had labored hard; I had built excellent mills; my merit as a 
workman was confessed by all who saw them, and the necessity of my re- 
maining there to oversee the sawyers, and keep the mills in order, was 
proved by my being brought back from Crown Point. The engineer 
turned me off with the common allowance, viz., fifteen pennies per day. 
New York currency. 

December 7, I embarked with Colonel Miller, Captain Nutt and others, 
being eleven in number, in two batteau.x, in order to cross Lake George. 
Colonel Miller had two horses and a curricle, and for greater safety we 
lashed the boats together. The weather being pleasant, and having the 
prospect of a quick passage, we took but little provision with us, expect- 
ing to reach Fort George early next day, having a small breeze of wind 
in our favor; but in the evening the wind died away and we came to under 


a small island lying near the main land, about four miles north of Sabbath- 
day point. In the night the wind came ahead, blew hard, and the 
weather grew very cold. 

December 2. In the morning, with some difficulty, we brought the 
boats to the main land and took the horses ashore. The wind blowing a 
gale all day, the waves running mountain high, there was no possibility 
of moving any way, and it was never colder since my remembrance. 

December 3. Provisions all gone; the wind somewhat abated, but still 
so high as to render it impossible to turn the point; the cold continuing 
and hunger increasing. Our situation began to grow somewhat distress- 
ing, but Providence provided for us. In rambling over the point, one of 
the party accidentally came upon an old provision bag, in which we found 
about a dozen pounds of excellent salt pork ; this, with some damaged 
flour, brought by Colonel Miller to feed his horses, made into dumplings 
and boiled with the pork, served us well for the day, 

December 4. The morning was cold but very calm, and the surface of 
the lake smooth ; but we had some difficulties yet to encounter. One of 
the batteaux, which belonged to some Dutch settlers, proved very leaky ; 
there was at least six inches of solid ice in the bottom, which, in our situ- 
ation, it was impossible to move. It was therefore concluded to take both 
Colonel Miller's horses, with his curricle, on board his own boat; the two 
men, with the three Dutchmen, on board their boat. But we had not pro- 
ceeded many miles in this way before the Dutch boat fell astern and put 
ashore, and the two men left here, choosing rather to take the woods than 
rowthe lazy Dutchmen. The Dutchmen then called on us for help, and 
we lay to until they came up, and Colonel Miller's humanity was such 
that he took them on board his boat, with their chests and baggage. 
Hunger and cold was not now our greatest concern : we were loaded down 
within two or three inches of the top of the sides of the boat. 'We were 
just opening the northwest bay; we had yet twenty miles to Fort George, 
and a very little wind, only to have given a small agitation to the water. 
■We must in all probabilit}' have perished, but Providence so ordained it 
that there was a perfect calm the whole day, and we arrived at Fort 
George a little after sunset, without any accident. I arrived home at 
Brookfield the sixteenth of December, having enjoyed a good state of 
health during the whole campaign, for which I find no acknowledgment 
in my journal — oh, shame ! 

After my return home, as above stated, I made up my mind not to 
engage any more in military service. I had several times been disap- 
pointed of the rewards promised for extra service. I got nothing for the 
ranging-service of 1757, nor for my services among the carpenters in sev- 
eral instances. I was much disgusted at being compelled to leave my 
regiment and go to work at the mills, at the moment when I was ambi- 
tious and supposed I had a fair prospect of distinguishing myself as a 
soldier. It is true the army did not proceed any further than Crown 


Point, and no general action tool< place in that quarter ; yet there was 
another point of view in which the forcing of me from my regiment gave 
me much uneasiness. I was not only pleased with the duty of orderly 
sergeant, as considered in itself, but as it is his duty every day to bring 
his men for guard on to parade, and attending there until the guard is 
formed and inspected by the officer of the day, it is a good school for 
improvement ; and, besides, by the clean and soldierly appearance of the 
men in their clothes and arms, etc., will never fail to recommend the ser- 
geant to the notice of his superior officer. Besides, I had rendered 
service to the government which, had I not been a soldier, the quarter- 
master-general acknowledged was worth a dollar per day only for attend- 
ing to the sawyers, and I was turned off with only seventeen cents. On 
the whole, I came to a determination never to engage again as a soldier, 
nor did I suppose there was any prospect of being invited to engage in a 
higher capacity. Under these circumstances, and it being a season for 
the millwrights' business, I took boarding in the town of New Braintree, 
and went to work on some land which I had purchased in that town, where 
I spent the winter. 

March 1760. Orders were issued for raising Provincial troops for 
another campaign. As before observed, I was residing in New Braintree, 
and, therefore, attended the first training called for raising recruits, and I 
enrolled myself in the militia company of that town. Captain Page of 
Hardwick, at whose request the company had been called together, soon 
appeared and presented me with recruiting orders, sent by Brigadier Rug- 
gles, and proposed that I should join him in raising a company. As an 
appointment in the army had been unsolicited by me, the orders were 
wholly unexpected. I, at first, declined accepting them, for which I had 
several reasons. The disgust I felt for my treatment in the last campaign 
had not wholly worn off I had formed my plans to stay at home; and, 
besides, I found there had been application made in behalf of some older 
settlers in town than I was, whom the brigadier refused, and some of these 
appeared very angry and complained that the town was insulted by my 
appointment, therefore I had very little reason to expect much success 
in recruiting among them. However, after Captain Page had beat round 
several times without any success, on the solicitation of a number of old 
soldiers of my acquaintance, I took the orders and eight or nine enlisted 
immediately. Thus I was once more setting out for the arm)'. I was much 
more successful in recruiting than I expected, but I was guilty of a great mis- 
take, for I suffered my men to be mustered for Captain Page's company, 
and as he had recruited but few men himself we fell short of the quota we 
expected, and thus by my own folly in mustering my men for his com- 
pany I lost them, much to their disappointment and my own. Captain 
Page, of all his father's children, loved himself the best. He returned all 
the men for himself and I was left to go a begging. I then heartily re- 
pented of having undertaken to recruit, and I cannot tell whether I was 


more angry or mortified. Brigadier Ruggles was at Boston ; Colonel 
Willard was placed at Worcester to arrange the offices for the several 
companies. He was a total stranger to me, and I had no friend to intro- 
duce me, and I was too wilful or too bashful to introduce myself All the 
consolation I had (if that was any) was the company of a number of 
others in like circumstances. However, after remaining in suspense about 
three weeks, Colonel Willard presented me with an ensign's commission 
in his own regiment. I had expected a lieutenancy. I had recruited 
enough to warrant it, had I not been duped by Captain Page in agreeing 
to muster my men for his coriipany; but it was too late now to refuse an 
ensign, and I was really obliged to Colonel Willard for the appointment. 

From the circumstances I have related, let all, but especially those in 
inexperienced youth, as I was, be cautioned how they trust the friendship 
of those whose interest it may be to dupe them. 

Captain Thomas Beman, to whose company I was now appointed, had 
marched some days before my appointment, and I was ordered to continue 
in the recruiting service. But I had very little success, as might be ex- 
pected after what had before taken place respecting the men that enlisted. 

June 2. I set out for the army, having enlisted but three men, one of 
whom I was permitted to take as a waiter, the others were turned over to 
a different regiment. 

June lo. I joined my company at Ticonderoga, where I found four 
companies stationed to guard this place, the saw mill and the landing at 
the outlet of Lake George. 

June 22. Captain Beman's company marched to the landing above 
mentioned, where we were stationed until the end of the campaign, and 
thus were deprived of the honor of sharing the twelve days siege at the 
Isle de Hune, which opened the way for the junction of three British 
armies before Montreal, which surrendered without opposition September 
8, and thus was the conquest of Canada complete. Soon after our com- 
pany was stationed at the landing, I was invited by the engineer at 
Ticonderoga (not the one who abused me the last year as before related) 
to take the oversight of the mills and also of the erection of a block house 
where our company was stationed. I agreed with him at a stipulated price 
per day, which was honorably paid at the close of the campaign. 

November 19. The company marched to Ticonderoga and was dis- 

November 20. Crossed the lake and began our march through the 
wilderness, for No. 4, on the Connecticut river. We arrived at No. 4 on 
the twenty-fifth, about eighty miles, as we computed from Ticonderoga. 

December i. I arrived home at New Braintree, having enjoyed good 
health during my absence; my officers, especially the captain and the first 
lieutenant, were very agreeable companions and we lived in the greatest 

Before I left camp, Major Skean very warmly solicited me to engage in 


his service in erecting mills in Skeansborough (at the head of South bay), 
and as a further inducement for my undertal<ing it, Brigadier Ruggles as- 
sured me of a heutenant's commission in the army. The proposals were 
such as I could not have declined with propriety, had 1 not been pre- 
viously engaged in the pursuit of a different object. 

This campaign ended for the time being Mr. Putnam's military career. 
The war was now over, though some time elapsed before a treaty of peace 
was made and signed. Quebec was taken in 1759, Montreal a little later 
the same year. The end had come of French dominion in North America. 
England came with complete possession. For some time there were 
troubles with the Indians in the south and west, and but for the fortunate 
interposition of a young Indian girl, Pontiac's conspiracy would have had 
more disastrous consequences. Between France and England there con- 
tinued to be conflicts on the ocean for two or three years after they had 
ceased on land. 

In February, 1763, a treaty of peace was made in Paris. All the terri- 
tory claimed by France east of the Mississippi was ceded to Great Britain. 
At the same time Spain surrendered east and west Florida to the English 
crown. France ceded to Spain the important territory west of the Missis- 
sippi, known as the Province of Louisiana. The seven years' war cost 
Europe a million lives, one hundred and eighty thou.sand of whom were 
sacrificed by Frederic. The population of his kingdom was diminished 
one-tenth, and impoverished it to such an extent that it took four score 
years for anything like recovery. 

The war doubled the debt of England, increasing it to seven hundred 
millions of dollars. But the greater part of the loans required were raised 
at home. The people became the creditors of the government, thus iden- 
tifying their pecuniary interests with the stability of the government, which 
is, undoubtedly, one reason why, when other thrones were shaken and some 
toppled over, that of England remained firm, as on a sure foundation. 
This conflict was one of the most important in modern times and fol- 
lowed by the most momentous results. England was from thenceforth 
mistress of the seas. 

The question was then settled, whether the feudal and aristocratic prin- 
ciples of France, or the Saxon love of freedom and regard to the rights of 
the individual, should give tone and character to the people and the gov- 
ernment in this new world— whether Catholicism or Protestantism, with 
" freedom to worship God" as conscience and inclination dictated, should 
dominate the nations to be planted in the western continent. 



After the war was over, Mr. Putnam went back to building mills, farm- 
ing, etc., in which work he continued for seven or eight years. During 
this time he was industriously adding to his stock of knowledge, making 
a specialty of practical surveying, in whicli he was greatly helped by Mr. 
Timothy Dwight. He was, at length, sufficiently master of the business 
to devote himself almost exclusively to it. He was employed by the 
landholders of the neighboring towns, and by his accuracy and faithfulness 
gave such satisfaction to his employers that his services were much 
sought after. 

In 1761 Mr. Putnam was married to Elizabeth Ayres, daughter of Wil- 
liam Ayres of Brookfield. But his dream of domestic happiness was very 
brief, and the awaking therefrom was terrible. The wife died in less than 
a year after their m.arriage, and in a few short months their infant son was 
laid beside the mother. Mr. Putnam says in his journal, "Thus was I in 
less than a year deprived of mother and child, and in them, as I then 
thought, of all earthly comfort." To him this early disappointment must 
have been very hard to bear, for until then he had really had no home. 
But time, the great consoler, brought him relief; and in January, 1765, he 
was married to Persis Rice, daughter of Zebulon Rice of Westborough. 

In 1772, Mr. Putnam engaged in an enterprise that at the time excited 
a good deal of interest in New England, though the outcome thereof was 

Soon after the close of the French and Indian war, General Lyman was 
sent to England by a number of colonial officers and soldiers, in order to 
secure from the British government a grant of land as a reward for mili- 
tary service performed during the late war. He was detained there sev- 
eral years in vain endeavor to obtain that for which he went. He returned 
in 1772. A meeting of "the Military Adventurers" was called in Hart- 
ford, and General Lyman assured those concerned that an order had been 


passed by the king in council, authorizing the governor of "West Florida" 
to grant lands in that province to the officers and soldiers who had served 
in the late war, in the same manner and proportion as had been done to 
his majesty's regular troops. As they had been liberally provided for in 
the provinces acquired during the war, the prospect seemed good that the 
colonial officers and soldiers would also reap a reward for duties well done. 
To be sure. General Lyman brought no written vouchers to make the 
grant sure, but a king's word was thought to be sufficient to form a basis 
of expectation and of action. The company, therefore, appointed a com- 
mittee to explore the country and lay out the tracts to be divided among 
the adventurers. Colonel Israel Putnam and his younger relative, Rufus 
Putnam, were two of the committee. 

The associates of the military company chartered a sloop, in which the 
exploring party sailed from New York, January 10, 1773. They entered 
the bay of Pensacola, March i. Governor Chester and his council treated 
them kindly, but were obliged to say that no order for granting lands to 
the Continentals had been received. This was discouraging ; still there 
was left the hope that some untoward event had caused delay, and the 
order might yet come. At any rate, after the long voyage, they could 
not be reconciled to the idea of returning without accomplishing some- 
thing; so the committee set about their explorations. Mr. Putnam left, 
among his papers, a carefully drawn plan of the Mississippi river, with all 
its windings and eccentricities to the mouth of the Yazoo, which was the 
extent of their journeyings in that direction. They went up the Yazoo 
twenty or thirty miles, when they concluded that they had reached the 
northern boundary of West Florida. The explorers returned to Pensacola 
early in July, and waited upon the governor to see if the expected order 
had been received during their absence. No such order had arrived, but 
the delay was not considered conclusive, and Governor Chester took the 
responsibility of making an offer of lands upon terms so satisfactory that, 
upon the whole, it was thought advisable to attempt to make a settle- 
ment. Accordingly, when the committee returned to Massachusetts, 
their report was so favorable, in regard to soil, climate and conditions of 
the country they had been sent out to investigate, that several hundred 
families from Massachusetts and other parts of New England embarked for 
West Florida, there to make for themselves new homes. But, unfortu- 
nately for their hopes and prospects, Governor Chester received, in Octo- 
ber, positive orders from the crown prohibiting him from granting or sell- 


ing any more lands upon any conditions whatsoever until the king's 
further pleasure should be signified. Thus the land office was closed to 
the poor emigrants when they reached the place where they expected to 
find homes. Some had spent all they had in getting there, and it was too 
late in the season for them to return, even if they had the means. The 
governor kindly allowed them to take possession of any unoccupied lands 
they could find, but the colony did not prosper. On account of change 
of climate, exposure and hardships, many of the colonists sickened and 
died, and there were very few to whom the issue was beneficial. 

Mr. Putnam was occupied more than eight months in these explora- 
tions, and for his time and services, and to cover e.xpenses withal, he re- 
ceived the munificent sum of eighty dollars ! 



Mr. James Russell says: " It was the drums of Nateby and Dunbar 
that gathered the minute men on Lexington common ; it was the red dint 
of the age on Charles' block that marked one in our era." Again he 
says: " What made our Revolution a foregone conclusion was the act of 
the general court passed in May, 1647, which established the system of 
common schools. The first row of trammels and pot-hooks which the 
little Shearjashubs and Elkanabs blotted and blubbered across their copy- 
books was the preamble to the Declaration of Independence." 

When the storm at length burst, Massachusetts was the central point of 
the onset, and Boston was especially singled out as the chiefest offender. 
The Boston port bill was passed; the commerce of the city was crippled 
to an extreme. Sympathy was universally shown by the other colonies, 
and help came from all quarters. Israel Putnam came from Connecticut, 
driving before him a flock of one hundred and fifty sheep — a gift from the 
parish of Brooklyn, where he lived. The "old hero" was the guest of 
Wausen while he remained in the city, and we can easily imagine what was 
the theme of conversation as they sat by the light of the lamp that August 
evening in 1774. They stirred one another up to more heroic thought 
and braver deeds for the contest that was then so near at hand. 

April 19, 1775, the shedding of blood began in the battle of Lexington. 
That of Bunker Hill soon followed. The story has often been told how 
Israel Putnam left his oxen standing in the furrow and hastened to the 
point when news of the first skirmish reached him. He was on hand to 
take a part in the battle of Bunker Hill. Rufus Putnam did not tarry long 
behind him. He could not sit quietly by his fireside when other men 
were exposing their lives for home and country and all they held dear. 
He buckled on his sword when the strife began, and did not lay it down 
till liberty was secure and peace again smiled upon the land. He entered 
the army as lieutenant-colonel of a regiment commanded by Colonel David 



Brewer. The regiment was stationed at Roxbury, in the division com- 
manded by General Thomas. In the memoir, to which reference has 
already been made, Colonel Putnam states the particulars in regard to 
what he did. He shall again have the privilege of telling his own story. 

June 17. The general and field officers met in council to advise what was to be done in our exposed 
situation. It was the unanimous advice of the officers that some hne of defense should immediately be 
commenced for the security of the troops from surprise, and for the protection of the town. The gen- 
eral informed us that he had applied for Colonel Gridley to come from Cambridge, but could not obtain 
him as he was the only engineer on that side, and the only one he knew of. Some of my acquaintances 
mentioned me as having been employed in that way in the late war in Canada. I informed the general 
that I had never read a word on the subject of fortification ; it was true that I had been employed on 
some work of that sort under British engineers, but I pretended to no knowledge in regard to laying out 
works. But no excuse would avail. Undertake I must. Oh ! what a sUuation we were in ! No lines 
to cover us better than a board fence in case the enemy advanced upon us, and that was what we had 
every reason to expect. The necessity was, therefore, upon me. Undertake I must. I immediately 
began tracing out lines in front of Roxbury, towards Boston, and various other places on the Roxbury 
side, particularly at Sewell's Point. It was my good fortune to be at this place when General Washing- 
ton and General Lee first came over to examine the situ.ition of the troops and works on the Roxbury 
side of the river. I was much gratified and encouraged by their approbation of the plan of the works I 
had laid out. General Lee said much in favor of the works at Sewell's Point, compared with those that 
had been constructed on the Cambridge side. 

The works laid out at Roxbury, Dorchester and Brookline were all of my constructing, and late in the 
fall I laid out the Norton Cobble Hill, near Charleston mill pond. 

In the course of this campaign, by the general's order, I surveyed and dehneated the courses, distances 
and relative situation of the enemy's works in Boston and Charlestown, with our own in Cambridge, 
Roxbury, etc. 

In December I accompanied General Lee to Providence and Newport ; at this last place I laid out 
some works, particularly a battery from whence to command the harbor, and some works near How- 
land's Ferry to secure the command. 

In February of 1776, Washington found himself in circumstances that 
would have appalled a less courageous man. His military chest contained 
only money enough to pay his soldiers to the last of the previous Decem- 
ber. There was a great scarcity of powder, only one hundred pounds 
remaining. His men were ill-clad, poorly armed and not over-well fed. 

The British army in Boston, meanwhile, had not only all their needs 
supplied, but had time and opportunity for amusements and seeking 
enjoyment. The old South church was turned into a riding school for the 
light dragoons. Fanueil hall was desecrated by being converted into a 
play-house; British officers became amateur actors and intermingled with 
their plays, balls and masquerades. There were enough Tories among the 
Bostonians to furnish fair ladies for partners and assistants in these diver- 
sions. The army consisted of about eight thousand troops, rank and file, 
besides the ships of war gaily flying their flags in the harbor. They 
waited for the coming of spring and reinforcement, preparatory to their 


removal to New York. Meanwhile all went "merry as a marriage bell" 
as they waited. Washington could not attack them, for, besides the 
scarcity of powder, he had no artillery except what had been captured by 
privateers and dragged overland from Lake George. 

To the perturbed mind of the commander-in-chief there seemed to be 
but one resource: Dorchester Heights would give him the command of 
Boston and a considerable part of the harbor. Was it within the bounds 
of possibility to gain possession of that vantage ground ? It seemed worth 
while to make the effort. Mr. Bancroft thus refers to the event in the 
eighth volume of his 'History of the United States:' "The engineer 
employed to devise and superintend the works was Rufus Putnam, and the 
time chosen for their erection was the eve of the anniversary of the ' Bos- 
ton massacre.' " 

The importance of this event can hardly be over-estimated. There was 
not only relief but great encouragement in it. Having an outside view of 
the storming of Dorchester Heights, as given by the historian, it may be 
pleasant also to see the inside. At the risk, therefore, of some repetition, 
Colonel Putnam's own account of the affair will be given : 

1776. During the months of January and February, General Washington was deeply engaged on a plan 
of crossing on the ice and attacking the British in Boston, or endeavoring to draw them out by taking 
possession of Dorchester Neck. Now, with respect to taking possession of Dorchester Neck, there 
were circumstances which fell within my knowledge and sphere of duty, which were so evidently marked 
by the hand of an over-ruling Providence that I think proper to relate them. As soon as the ice was 
thought sufficiently strong for the army to pass over, a council of general officers was convened on the 
subject. What their particular opinion was I never knew, but the brigadiers were directed to consult 
the field officers of their several regiments, and these again to feel the temper of the captains and sub- 
alterns. While this was doing, I was invited to dine at headquarters. General Washington desired me 
to tarry after dmner, and when we were alone he entered into a free conversation on the subject of storm- 
ing the town of Boston. That it was much better to draw the enemy to Dorchester than to attack him 
in Boston, no one doubted, for if we could maintain ourselves on that point or neck of land, our com- 
mand of the town and harbor of Boston would be such as would probably compel them to leave the 
place. But cold weather, which had made a bridge of ice for our passage into Boston, had also frozen 
the earth to a great depth, especially in the open country, such .is was the hills on Dorchester Neck, so 
that it was inipossible to make a lodgement there in the usual way. However, the general directed me 
to consider the subject, and, if I could think of any way in which it could be done, to make report to 
him immediately. And now mark those singular circumstances which I call Providence : I left head- 
quarters in company with another gentleman, and on our way came by General Heath's. I had no 
thoughts of calling until I came against his door, and then I snid, " Let us call on General Heath," to 
which he agreed. I had no other motive but to pay my respects to the general. While there I cast 
my eye on a book which lay on the table, lettered on the back " Muller's Field Engineer." I immedi- 
ately requested the general to lend it to me ; he denied me ; I repeated my request ; he again refused, 
and told me he never lent his books. I then told him that he must recollect that he was the one who, at 
Roxbury, in a measure, compelled me to undertake a business which, at the time, I confessed I never 
had read a word about, and that he must let me have the book. After some more excuses on his part 
and close pressing on mine, I obtained the loan of it. I arrived at my quarters about dark. It was the 


custom for the overseers of the workmen to report to me every evening what progress had been made 
during the day. When 1 arrived, there were some of them already there. I put my book in the chest 
and, if I had time, I did not think of looking in it that night. The next morning, as soon as opportu- 
nity offered. I took my book from the chest and, looking over the contents. I found the word " chande- 
lier." What is that, I thought ; it is something I never heard of before. But no sooner did I turn to 
the page where it was described, with its use, but I was ready to report a plan for making a lodgement 
on Dorchester Neck. In a few minutes, after I had myself come to a determination in regard to the 
matter, Colonel Gridley (the engineer who had conducted the work at Cambridge), with Colonel Ruox 
of the artillery, who had been directed to consult with me on the subject, came in. They fell in with 
my plans. Our report was approved by the general, and preparations immediately set on foot to carry 
it into effect. Everything being ready for the enterprise, the plan was put in execution and a lodgement 
made on Dorchester Heights in the night of the fourth of March. Such were the circumstances that 
led to the discovery of a plan which obliged the enemy to leave Boston. 

General Howe saw at once that, with Dorchester Heights in possession 
of the Americans, his position was no longer tenable. He must go out 
and fight or withdraw altogether. At first he was inclined to the former, 
but obstacles intervened and he chose the latter. He sent a messenger to 
General Washington to say that he would withdraw if he would be allowed 
to do so unmolested. The American commander was poorly prepared for 
a battle, and was only too glad to get the enemj' out of Boston on terms 
so favorable. And so the British army, consisting of about eight thou- 
sand men, together with more than eleven hundred loyalists, who did not 
dare to be left behind, marched out of Boston and began their embarka- 
tion at four o'clock in the morning. The troops from Roxbury immedi- 
ately marched in and took possession. Marks of the haste with which 
the British had taken their departure were everywhere to be seen. They 
had left behind two hundred and fifty pieces of cannon, twenty-five thou- 
sand caldrons of coal, twenty-five thousand bushels of wheat, three thou- 
sand bushels of barley and oats, and one hundred and fifty horses, bed- 
ding and clothing for soldiers. Most welcome supplies these were to the 
patriot army. But these were not all. Not knowing of the retreat of 
the British army, vessels came in with arms and tools for artillery, and 
seven times as much powder as Washington had for his army when he 
began the movement. 

The defense of Boston had cost England more than a million pounds 
sterling. During the siege but twenty lives had been lost in the patriot 
army, and it had cost less than two hundred lives to drive the enemy from 
New England. Henceforth, during the war, in four of these states there 
was no bloodshed or disturbance. The forced evacuation of Boston was 
the first substantial gain on the part of the patriots ; and then and there, 
by the aid and largely through the influence of an untaught engineer, the 



corner-stone of American independence was laid. And here also was 
laid the foundation for that confidence and respect which the commander- 
in-chief always manifested for Mr. Putnam. He saw that he possessed, in 
abundant measure, both integrity and ability, and the union of these two 
qualities made a man greatly to be desired and trusted and invaluable in 
the exigencies of the occasion. The colonies had no schools for training 
civil engineers. In all previous wars with which they had anything to do, 
the headwork and commanding had been done by those with whom the 
contest was now waged; the English had commanded, the Americans 
obeyed. Although the training they had had was in many ways useful to 
them, it had not supplied them with men instructed in the art of war as 
applied to works of offense or defense. The French engineers who came 
to their relief did not seem to have learned from their books the wisdom 
necessary to make applications not contemplated by their instructors. 

In Mr. Putnam, therefore, General Washington found what he sorely 
needed and could not find elsewhere — a man endowed, in plejjtiful meas- 
ure, with sound common sense, good judgment, great industry, unbending 
integrity, and an intuitive knowledge of the skillful adaptation of means 
to ends, so as almost always to accomplish the thing he sought to do. We 
shall see that he was always in demand. He had little chance to be idle. 
When the army was in winter quarters, he was laying out roads, superin- 
tending the erection of fortifications, or in other wa)'s advancing the inter- 
ests of the cause in which he was so zealously engaged. 

Boston being rescued from the enemy, New York next became the 
centre of interest. In the condition of affairs then, there was great cause 
for discouragement to the patriots. When the year 1776 began, the royal- 
ists were everywhere in the ascendant. The British men-of-war were 
masters of the bay, the East river and the Hudson to the highlands. The 
common people in the city were on the side of liberty and independence, 
but a large proportion of the rich merchants were opposed to separation 
from England. Two-thirds of the men of influence kept aloof from the 
struggle or sided with the enemy. During the summer the English made 
large additions to their fighting force. Twenty-five thousand English 
troops were added to their army. George III. also made arrangements 
with the small German princess for troops, and seventeen thousand Hes- 
sians came to swell the numbers in the army. Nothing had so excited the 
indignation of the colonists as this measure. Until now there had been 
hope of reconciliation. There were only a few bold spirits who had hith- 


erto advocated separation from the mother country and setting up art 
independent government. But now all thought of submission or reconcil- 
iation was thrown to the winds. The most strenuous effort was made to 
replenish the army. During the summer Washington's forces were nom- 
inally increased to twenty-seven thousand men, but his effective force was 
not more than half that number. Enlistments were for but a brief period, 
and therefore frequently expiring. There were many also on the sick list. 
The following entry appears in Colonel Putnam's journal : 

March 31, 1776. I received General Washington's orders to march to New York, by the way of Prov- 
idence, to afford Governor Cook my best advice and assistance in the construction of the work there. I 
went to visit Newport again, where I laid out some additional works. On my return from Newport to 
Providence I met General Washington there, I believe, the sixth of April, and obtained leave to go by 
Brookfield to New York. I believe I tarried with my family a part of two days, and then pushed for 
New York, where I arrived about the twentieth. On my arrival in New York I was charged (as chief 
engineer) with laying out and overseeing the works which were erected during the campaign, at New 
York, Long Island, and their dependencies, with Fort Washington, Fort Lee, King's Bridge, etc. . . 
This was a service of much fatigue, for my whole time was taken up, from daylight in the morning till 
night, in the business. 

During the summer the following note was received from General 

Washington : 

August ii, 1776. 
Sir : I have the pleasure to inform you that congress have appointed you an engineer, with the rank 
of colonel, and pay of si.xty dollars per month. I am, sir, 

" Your assured friend and servant, 

G. Washington. 

In regard to this appointment. Colonel Putnam, with characteristic 

modesty, remarks in his journal : 

My being appointed engineer by congress was wholly unexpected. I had begun to act in that capac- 
ity through pure necessity, and had continued the business more from necessity and from respect for the 
general than from any opinion of my own abihties. True it is that, after my arrival in New York, I had 
read from books on fortification, and knew more than when I began at Roxbury; but I had not the 
vanity to suppose that my knowledge was such as to give me a claim to the first rank in a corps of engin. 
eers, yet my experience convinced me that such a corps was necessary to be established. 

In the latter part of the month of August occurred the disastrous battle 
of Long Island. General Israel Putnam was in command, but General 
Washington reached the scene of combat before the battle was over. The 
loss of the patriot army was nearly four thousand in killed, wounded and 
missing. Washington gathered the shattered forces together in the 
trenches back of Brooklyn. The delay of General Howe in following up 
his victory gave Washington a breathing spell. During the night of the 
second day after the battle, skillful arrangements were made, and the army 
safely ferried across the river and landed in New York. The British were 
not aware of the movement until the last boat was on its way across the 


water. General Greene said "that this retreat of Washington was the 
most masterly he had ever heard or read of." Henceforth, for seven 
years, the British held New York. 

The results of this defeat were altogether evil. Discouragement, like a 
pall, rested upon the country. There was gloom in the army and almost 
despair among patriots generally. It was not until the year was almost 
gone that any advantage was gained over the enemy. The battle of Tren- 
ton cleared away a share of the despondency and revived hope. At the 
request of General Washington, Colonel Putnam drew up a plan for 
establishing a corps of engineers. It was transmitted to congress with the 
following recommendation from the commander-in chief : 

I have taken the liberty to transmit a plan for estabh'shing a corps of engineers, artificers, etc., 
sketched out by Colonel Putnam, and which is proposed for the consideration of congress. How far 
they may be inclined to adopt it, or whether they will be inclined to proceed on so extensive a scale, they 
will please to determine. However, I conceive it a matter well worthy of their consideration, being con- 
vinced, from experience and from the reasons suggested by Colonel Putnam, who has acted with great 
diligence and reputation in the business, that some est.ablishment ol the sort is highly necessary and will 
be productive of the most beneficial consequences. 

Colonel Putnam says: "In my letter to General Washington on the 
subject, I disclaimed all pretension of being placed at the head of the pro- 
posed corps, and signified that it would be my choice to serve in the line 
of the army." The journal continues: 

October rg, 1776. The British landed on Pell's Point and some skirmishing took place in the after- 
noon between part of Glover's brigade and some advance parties of tlie enemy near East Chester. The 
next morning, by order of the general, I set out, in company with Colonel Reed, the adjutant-general 
and a foot guard of about twenty men. 'When we arrived at the heights of East Chester we saw a 
small body of British near the church, but could obtain no intelligence — the houses were deserted. 
Colonel Reed now told me that he must return to attend to issuing general orders. I observed that we 
had made no discovery yet of consequence ; that if he went back I wished him to take the guard back, 
for I chose to go alone. I then disguised my appearance as an officer as far as I could, and set out on 
the road to White Plains, though I did not then know w^here White Plains was, nor where the road I had 
taken would lead me. I had gone about two and a half miles when a road turned off to the right. I 
followed it and, in perhaps a half mile, I came to a house, where I learned from the woman that this 
road led to New Rochelle, that the British were there and that they had a guard at a house in sight. On 
this information I turned and pursued my route tow.ird White Plains (the houses on the way were all 
deserted) until I came within three or four miles of the place. Here I discovered a house a little ahead, 
with men about it. With my glass I found they were not British soldiers. However, 1 approached them 
with caution. I called for some oats for my horse, then sat down and heard them chat some little time, 
when I found they were friends to the cause of .'\merica ; then I began to make the necessary inquiries. 
On the whole, I found that the main body of the British lay near New Rochelle ; from thence to White 
Plains it was about nine miles, with good roads and, in general, a level, open country ; that at White 
Plains was a large quantity of stores, with only about three hundred militia to guard them ; that the 
British had a detachment at a place only six miles from White Plains, only five miles to the North river, 
where lay five or six of the enemy's ships, sloops, tenders, etc. 

Having made these discoveries, I set out on my return. The road from Ward's, across the Brunx, 
was my intended route, unless I should find the British there ; but I saw Americans on the heights west 



of the Brunx, who had arrived there after I passed up. I found it to be Lord Sterling's division. It 
was now after sunset. I gave my lord a short account of my discoveries, took some refreshments and 
set off for headquarters by the way of Philips, at the mouth of Sawmill river. It was a road I had never 
traveled. Among Tory inhabitants and in the night, I dare not inquire the way, but Providence directed 
me. I arrived at headquarters, near King's Bridge (a distance of about ten miles), about nine o'clock 
at night. I found the general alone. I reported to him the discoveries I had made and gave him a 
sketch of the country. He complained very feelingly of the gentlemen from New York from whom he 
had never been able to obtain a plan of the country, and said that, from their information, he had 
ordered the stores to White Plains as being a place of security. The general sent for General Greene 
and General Clinton, since vice-president of the United States. As soon as General Clinton came in, 
my sketch and statement were shown to him, and he was asked if the situation of those places was as I 
had reported. General Clinton said it was. 

I had had but a short time to refresh myself and horse when I received a letter from the general, with 
orders to proceed immediately to Lord Sterling. I arrived at his quarter about two o'clock in the 

October 21. Lord Sterling's division marched before daylight, and we arrived at White Plains about 
nine o'clock in the morning. Thus was the American army saved {by interposition of Providence) from 
a probable total destruction. I may be asked wherein this particular interposition of Providence 
appears. I answer, first, in the stupidity of the British general, in that he did not, early in the morning 
of the twentieth, send a detachment and take possession of the post and stores at While Plains, for had 
he done this, we must then have fought him on his own terms and such disadvantageous terms on our 
part as, humanly speaking, must have caused our overthrow. Again, when I parted with Colonel Reed 
on the twentieth, as before mentioned, I have always thought that I was moved to so hazardous an 
undertaking by divine influence. On my route I was liable to meet with British or Tory parties, who 
probably would have made me a prisoner. Hence I was induced to disguise myself by taking out my 
cockade, loping my hat and secreting my sword and pistols under my loose coat. The probability is 
that I should have been hanged as a spy if I had been taken under this disguise. 

October 29. The British advanced in front of our lines at White Plains about ten o'clock A. M. I 
had just arrived on Chatterton hill in order to throw up some works, when they hove in sight. As soon 
as they discovered us, they commenced a severe cannonade, but without any effect of consequence. 
General McDougal arrived about this time, with his brigade, from Burtis', and observing the British to 
be crossing the Brunx below in large bodies, in order to attack us, our troops were posted in a very 
advantageous position to receive them. The British were twice repulsed in their advance. At length, 
however, their numbers were increased, so that they were able to turn our right flank. We lost many 
men, but from information afterward received, there was reason to believe that they lost more than we 
did. The wall and stone fence behind which our troops were posted proved as fatal to the British as the 
rail fence and grass hung on it did at Charlestown, June 17, 1775. After the affair of October 29, my 
time was employed in examining the nature of the country, in a military point of view, in our rear 
towards North Castle, Croton river, etc., until about November 5, when I received the following order 
from the general, which I shall take the liberty to transcribe : 

Headquarters, White Plains, November 5. 1776. 

Sir : You are directed to repair to Wright's Mills and lay out any work there you conceive to be neces- 
sary, in case it is not already done ; from thence you are to proceed to Croton bridge, and post the two 
regiments of militia in the most advantageous manner, so as to obstruct the enemy's passage to that 
quarter. You are also to give what directions you think are proper to those regiments, respecting the 
breaking up the roads leading from the North river eastward. After this you are to go up to Peekskill 
and direct Lasher's detachment to break up the roads there ; you are likewise to lay out what works will 
be advisable there and order them to be set about. 

Given under my hand. Geo. Washington. 

To Colonel Putnam, Engineer. 

November 11, 1776. General Washington came to Peekskill and I went with him to visit Fort Mont- 
gomery. On the same day, or the next, he crossed the North river, leaving instructions with me to 
ascertain the geography of the country, with the roads and passes through and about the Highlands, a 
report of which I afterwards made, with a sketch of a plan. 



December 8, 1 wrote to General Washington informing him that I had accepted a regiment in the 
Massachusetts lines of the Continental army, with my reasons for so doing, assuring him at the same 
time of my attachment to him and readiness to execute any service 1 should be ordered on. An extract 
of his answer I shall subjoin : 

Buck County, Near Coryell's Ferry, December 17, 1776. 
Dear Sir : Your letter of the eighth instant, from Peckskill, came duly to hand. Your acceptance 
of a regiment to be raised on continental establishment by tiie state of Massachusetts is quite agreeable 
to me, and I sincerely wish you success in recniiting and much honor in commanding it. 
Your professions of attachment are extremely pleasing to, dear sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 

Geo. Washington. 

Again, on the twentieth of December, the general has the following in a letter to congress : 

I have also to mention that, for want of some establishment in the department of engineers agreeable 
to the plan laid before congress in October last, Colonel Putnam, who was at the head of it, has quitted 
and taken a regiment in the state of Massachusetts. I know of no other man even tolerably well quali- 
fied for the conducting of that business. None of the French gentlemen whom I have seen with appoint- 
ments in that way appear to know anythmg of the matter. There is one in Philadelphia who, I am told, 
is clever; but him I have not seen. 

After this I repaired to headquarters to settle my accounts ; then, in January, 1777, I returned to 
Massachusetts to recruit my regiment, in which I was pretty successful. But as I was not engaged in 
much extra service this year, my memoir will be very short. Three companies of the regiment marched 
from Worcester about the first of May for Peekskill, and from thence in ]une were ordered up the North 
river, and finally to Fort Ann. I marched with the remainder from Worcester the third of July. At 
Springfield I received information that those three companies were gone up the North river, and also had 
orders to join the brigade in that quarter. I joined the northern troops about four miles above Fort 
Edward. The next day the army fell down the river about four miles, except my regiment, which re_ 
mained three or four days. This gave me an opportunity to examine Fort Edward and compare its 
present state with what it was in 1760. The last time I saw it, when standing, it appeared as it really 
was — a very strong fortification, but now, alas ! its remaining walls and ditch would afford no cover in 
case of an attack. 

With respect to the events which took place in this campaign on llie North river, between the army 
under the immediate command of General Burgoyne and ours under General Gates, I should say noth- 
ing of myself were it not for some omissions and misstatements by the historian with respect to storming 
the works of the German reserve of the seventh of October. (See ' Life of Washington,' p. 257-8, vol. iii. ) 

The facts are as follows : In front of those works was a clear, open field, bounded by a wood at the 
distance of about one hundred and twenty yards. In the skirt of this wood I was posted with the fifth 
and sixth Massachusetts regiments. The right and left of those works were partly covered by a thin 
wood, and the rear by a thick wood. The moment orders were given to storm, I moved rapidly across 
the open field and entered the works in front. I believe, at the same moment, the troops of Learned's 
brigade, in which Jackson's regiment was, entered on the left rear. I immediately formed the two regi- 
ments under my command and moved out of the works, which were not enclosed in the rear, into the wood 
towards the enemy's enclosed redout on the right flank of their main encampment. General Learned, 
as soon as he had secured and sent off all the plunder taken in this camp, withdrew all the other troops 
without bidding me a good night. However, some time before morning, General Glover joined me 
with three regiments from the right wing of the army. 

Marshall's account of the affairis very different from mine. He says : "Jackson's regiment of Massa- 
chusetts, led by Lieutenant-colonel Brooks, turned the right of the encampment and stormed the works. " 
No mention is made of Brigadier-general Learned, who stormed at the same time with other coips of 
his brigade as well as Jackson's; nor of the two regiments under my command, who stormed in front 
again. Brooks maintained the ground he had gained. Nothing can be further from being correct than 
this, for, except the two regiments which I commanded, I never saw troops in greater disorder, nor did 
I see any of them formed into order for action before I moved out with the fifth and sixth regiments, as 
before mentioned. Page 61, in a note from Mr. Gordon, it is said that " Nixon's brigade crossed Sara- 
toga creek." The fact was that the brigade was put in motion and marched in column closer to the creek 



just as the fog broke away, when the whole park of the British artillery opened upon us at not more than 
five hundred yards distant. Finding we were halted, I rode forward to the head of the brigade to inquire 
why we stood there in that exposed situation, but Nixon was not to be found, and Colonel Grafton, who 
commanded the leading regiment, said he had no orders. I then advised crossing the creek and covering 
the troops under the bank, which was done. I then, at the request of Colonel Stevens, advanced with 
my regiment across the plain and posted them under cover of the bank of an old stockade, while Stevens 
advanced with two field pieces to annoy the British, who were attempting to take away some covered 
wagons standing about half way between us and the British battery. We remained in this situation 
almost an hour, when I had orders to retreat. I found Nixon near the church and, after some debate, 
I obtained leave to send a party and cut away the British boats which lay above the mouth of the creek. 
Captains Morse, Goodale and Gates, with about seventy or eighty, volunteered to go on this service, 
which they effected without loss. . . . 

The worthy Kosciuskoa, the famous Polander, was at the head of the engineer department in Gates 
army. We advised together with respect to the works necessary to be thrown up for the defense of the 
camp, but he had the oversight in erecting them. 

The surrender of Burgoyne greatly changed the aspect of affairs. There 
was hope now, where before discouragement had prevailed. An alliance 
with France was secured, money obtained and men promised. Robert 
Morris took the management of the finances and brought order out of 
confusion. It is difficult to see how the success that came could have 
been secured without his help. When the names are called over of those 
who laid the foundation of the grand republic, that of Robert Morris ought 
never to be left out. Alas ! that he was no better rewarded for his in- 
valuable services. 

After the surrender of Burgoyne, Nixon's brigade, to which Colonel 
Putnam was attached, went into winter quarters at Albany. But for him 
there was always something to do. In January, 1778, he received a mes- 
sage from Governor Clinton and General Israel Putnam requesting him to 
come to West Point to superintend the erection of fortifications there. 
After some parleying and delay he went thither in March. As soon 
as he reached West Point, he went to work, first tearing down and 
then building up. A French engineer had been employed and had laid 
out the main fort on an extended point near the river. Colonel Putnam 
abandoned it and simply placed a battery there to annoy the enemy's 
shipping. The principal fort was built by his own regiment and by Gen- 
eral McDougal, named Fort Putnam. It was on a rocky eminence that 
commanded both the plain and the point. The plans that he made and 
the fortifications he erected have since been strengthened and expanded, 
but he laid the foundations, and there has been no essential departure from 
his plans. He was thus occupied until June. In July he marched his 
regiment to White Plains, and united with the main army under the com- 
mander-in-chief. There was but little active service performed during the 


campaign, and in September the army was broken up into divisions. That 
of General Gates, to which Colonel Putnam belonged, was sent to Dan- 
ville, Connecticut. 

But Colonel Putnam possessed abilities that very effectually prevented 
his being laid on the shelf with idlers. When there was no fighting to be 
done, there were roads to be laid out or plans made for fortifications. 
After spending some time in laying out roads in the region of Danbury, 
he made a reconnoissancc with General Gates in the vicinity of the Hud- 
son river. When that was done, he obtained a furlough to visit his home, 
where he had not been for more than a year. 

Mrs. Putnam, with her family of fsmall children, the oldest not more 
than twelve, lived on a small farm of fifty acres, and those were not of the 
best or most productive. Colonel Putnam's salary was meagre and not 
promptly paid. When it was paid, the currency in which it was done, 
was so greatly depreciated in value that it did not go far toward supplying 
the wants of the family. Mrs. Putnam eked out their scanty income by 
the diligent use of the distaff and the needle. Rigid economy prevailed 
in the household, and industry that would be a marvel to some of the 
matron's descendants. If the fathers of the Revolution were patriotic, the 
mothers were no less so. Much they did and more they endured; and in- 
asmuch as patient waiting is more difficult and harder to bear than active 
serving, they are worthy to be held in grateful remembrance as having 
had a large share in securing for us a free country, in which the inhabit- 
ants are blessed with civil and religious liberty. In 1780 Colonel Putnam 
left his small farm and took possession of a larger one, on which there was 
a fine, spacious mansion. This property was in Rutland, Massachusetts, 
and its owner being a Tory it was confiscated, and Colonel Putnam bought 
it on easy and favorable terms. 

The following record appears in the journal : 

June I. 1779- Fort Fayette, on Verplank's Point, was taken by the British. I returned to camp some 
time in June, and in a few days received the Collowing order from General Heath: 

Highlands, Danforth House, June 29. 1779. 
Sir : I am very desirous, if possible, to obtain the e.tact situation of the enemy on Verplank's Point, 
and of the vessels on both sides of the river. I would request that you would to-morrow reconnoiter 
the enemy with due precaution and make such remarks as you may think proper. You will take part or 
the whole of your light company as a guard. Your knowledge of the country and abilities render par- 
ticular instructions unnecessary. 

Yours, etc., Wm. Heath. 

To execute this order I had to march through the mountains nearly twenty miles in an unfrequented 
route to avoid discovery, and lie concealed in the woods until I had effected the object which was 


Col. Putnam has permission to lake as many men as he chooses, or any other for special service, 
and to pass all guards. G. Washington. 

July 9. 1779. 

The service here intended was to examine the enemy's works on Verplank's Point. I set out from 
Constitution island, opposite West Point, in the afternoon of the tenth with fifty men, and reached 
Continental village about sunset. After dark I proceeded by a back road to a point where I concealed 
my party in the woods, intending the next morning to e.tamme the works. But soon alter we halted a 
very heavy rain set in, which continued all night and the next day. The next morning, July 12, was 
fair, but our arms and ammunition were so wet that they were entirely useless. I retired to a deserted 
house, where we built fires, broke up our catridges, dried what powder was not wholly destroyed and 
cleaned our arms, many of which we were obliged to unbritch. We were in this disarmed and defense- 
less state from early in the morning until the middle of the afternoon. Apprehensive that the enemy 
might have got knowledge from some of the inhabitants, who had probably seen us, I marched the 
party directly along the great road (in sight of the enemy's block house) towards Peekskill, where at a 
convenient distance I turned into the woods again, where I concealed the party until towards morning, 
when I took them out on to the ground near to where I posted myself for observations, having accom- 
plished which I returned to camp July 13. The next day I went to New Windsor and made my report 
to General Washington. He then informed me that he had relinquished the idea of a real attack on 
Verplank's Point at the same time it was to be made on Stony Point, but intended the attack on that 
point should be only a feint, and for that purpose he had ordered Nixon's brigade to march that day to 
Continental village. He then instructed me to take as many men from the brigade as I thought proper 
and be on the ground ready to fire on the enemy at Verplank's Pomt the moment I found that Wayne 
had attacked Stony Point. At the same time the General informed me that no one knew of the intended 
attack but those who had the charge of the execution : that but one of his own family was let into the 
secret. I had not the least doubt but that the brigade had marched that afternoon, but when I returned 
to the camp after sunset I found them still there. On inquiring the reason why they had not marched, 
Nixon told me that he had obtained leave from General McDougal to delay his march. On inquiring 
what time he would march in the morning, he informed me that he should send on a guard of 
fifty men according to his engagement with General McDougal. I was exceedingly perplexed to know 
how to act, on the whole. I told him I was charged with executing a special service, and requested him 
to increase the detachment to one hundred men under the command of a iield officer, and that they 
should march very early in the morning to Continental village. 

July 15. General Washington came down early to West Point, and Colonel Tillman came to the 
stand to inquire why Nixon's brigade had not marched the day before. I gave him an account of what 
I had done and soon after set out after the detachment, which had marched under the command of I^ieu- 
tenant-Colonel Smith. I remained at the village until night, and then made such arrangements as I 
thought proper to fulfill the intentions of the general. As soon as I saw that Wayne had commenced his 
attack on Strong Point, we fired on their out block-house and guard at the creek, and thus alarmed the 
garrison on Verplank's Point, which was the only object contemplated for that night. 

July 16. I remained this morning in full view of the enemy until eight o'clock, when I marched up to 
Continental village, where in the course of the day Nixon's and Patterson's brigade arrived, but without 
their field pieces, artillery men, or so much as an axe, a spade, or any orders as to what they were to do- 
About ten o'clock at night General Howe arrived to take the command. He called on me for informa- 
tion. I told him the troops had brought no artillery with them, which, in my opinion, was necessary, on 
account of a block-house that stood in the way of our approach to the main work on the point, nor had 
they brought any axes or intrenching tools, and that it was impossible to cross the creek without rebuild- 
ing the bridge, which had been destroyed. 

July 17. Sometime about the middle of the day two twelve-pounders arrived, and a few axes were 
collected, I believe, from the inhabitants, and a bridge was begun as proposed to be begun. I cannoj 
say how far the preparations had advanced before we were alarmed by the advance of a British party by 
the way of Croton, on which we retreated. 

These are the facts which fell within my own knowledge, respecting the movements made against 


Verplank's Point. Marshall's representations of the delay implies a heavy censure of General Mo- 
Dougal. for, according to him, General McDougal was personally with two bngades "ordered to ap- 
proach the enemy on the east side of the river, so as to be in readiness to attempt the work on Ver- 
plank's Point, and that in this situation Wayne's messenger was to find him " And, again, that General 
Howe was ordered to take the command afterwards, according to Marshall. It follows, if this statement 
be correct, that General McDougal must be highly censurable. But I believe this to be very incorrect. 
I believe General McDougal never was ordered to march with those two brigades. My reasons are these 
I know him so well that had he been ordered to march, he certainly would have obeyed. Again, had he 
disobeyed such an order, he would undoubtedly have been arrested, and we should have heard of it. But 
what is much more, it must be remembered that General McDougal was at that very time commander-in- 
chief of West Point and its dependencies, and can any man, havmg any knowledge of that, and of the 
high importance with which it was considered by the commander-in-chief, believe that he would have 
ordered General McDougal to leave that important post and want to attack Verplank's Point? I think 
not. General Washington could not commit such an error. I suppose the fact to be this, that on the 
morning of the fifteenth, when General Washington came down to West Point, as before noted, he 
ordered General McDougal to detach Nixon's and Paterson's brigades to the Continental village, and 
that General Washington expected they would reach it that same evening, which I believe they did not 
do. However, they must have left the Point on the fifteenth, or they could not have arrived at the village 
as soon as they did on the sixteenth. But why they came without any artillery, axes, or intrenching 
tools, or any commanding gener,al, or orders to employ themselves, are questions that I am not able 
to solve. 

In a few days after this business was over, I was appointed to the command of a regiment of light 
infantry. The whole corps consisted of four regiments, of two battalions each, the whole commanded by 
General Wayne. In this corps I continued until the army went into winter quarters the December fol- 
lowing ; indeed, our corps did not break up camp until January, 1780. I was ordered on but two pieces 
of extra service during my continuance in the light infantry corps. One was in August, to erect a bat- 
tery at the place of old Fort Gommery, for the annoyance of ships coming up the river. 

December 14. I made a tour by order of General Wayne to South Amboy, having an officer and 
eight dragoons to attend me, for the purpose of reconnoitering a British fleet that lay there and to ascer- 
tain if possible the time of their sailing. This was a tedious, cold journey and somewhat arduous. We 
were obliged to return by the way of New Brunswick. 

January 1780. Some time about the last of the month I had leave to visit my family, and returned to 
camp about the middle of April; and I find by my correspondence with General Howe that I was in 
command about Croton river, etc., as early as the sixth of M.ay and continued out till the twenty-seventh 
of July. This kind of service in one sense is not properly extra, because every officer is liable to be 
detailed to perform it as a matter of duty; however, in another sense it may properly be called extra, 
because it is far more fatiguing, slavish and hazardous. It requires much more vigilance than the com- 
mon routine duty performed with the army. Besides, the commanding officer of such a detachment is 
usually, if not alw.ays, specially appointed to his command by the general, and hence it is always es- 
teemed very honorable. How far I discharged my duty while on this service, with how much honor to 
myself and satisfaction to my general, the letters between General Howe and myself will show. 

About the time I relieved, the grand army crossed the North river and encamped at Orangetown, 
then an English neighborhood, etc., etc.. 

About the first of .August, I had leave of absence and did not join the army again until the end of the 
campaign, viz., about the first of December. 

July 6, 1781. The French army under Count Rochambeau formed a junction with the American army 
near Dobb's ferry. 

August 19. The French army and that part of the American army destined for Virginia, commenced 
crossing the North river, and on the twenty-first, General Heath issued orders from which the following 
are extracts : 

Headquarters, near Young's, August 21, 1781. 

Three hundred rank and file, infantry, properly officered. Colonel Sheldon's legionary corps, Captain 


Sackett's and Captain Rittium's companies are to form a detachment to cover this part of the country 
in front of the army. Colonel Putnam will take the command of this detachment until further orders. 

The following will show something of the nature of the service I was performing and how far my con- 
duct was approved by General Heath. While 1 was on this command, I was honored with a letter from 
General Waterbury, from which the following are extracts : 

HORSENECK, September 13, 1781. 

Sir : After my compliments, I would inform you that I have received orders from his excellency, 
Governor Trumbull, to build some places of security for my troops to winter in, and at the same time he 
recommends to me to ask the favor of you to lend your assistance in counseling with me where it is best 
to build it. 

I made the tour agreeable to request. A few days after I joined my regiment at West Point, I 
received the following order from General McDougal: 

West Point, November 14, 1781. 

Sir : General McDougal requests you to repair to Stony and Verplank's points and examine mi- 
nutely into their state in every respect. The sentry boxes at those advanced works ought to be destroyed. 
Every building within cannon range of either of those posts and any cover that could afford a lodge- 
ment for the enemy must be taken down and removed before you leave the ground. 

You will please to have the garrison paraded and note every person, and the regiments they belong to, 
unfit for this service, etc. 

This was the last extra military service which I was ordered on that I shall mention. But there were 
some other services which I was called to, which tend to show in what estimation my character was with 
my brother officers, in general, in respects not military, which I shall now take notice of. 

September 9, 1778. 
At a meeting of the field and other officers in General Nixon's brigade. Colonel Rufus Putnam was 
unanimously chosen representative to meet in a general convention of the army, to state our grievances 
to the honorable Continental congress and endeavor to obtain redress of the same. 

Recorder of the meeting, 

Thomas Nixon, Moderator. 

My letter on file to Deacon Davis of Boston, dated March 21, 1779, will show what exertion I made to 
prevent a mutiny from breaking out in the Massachusetts line, and claim on the state in behalf of the sol- 
diers for relief. In that letter is enclosed the mutiny articles. The time fixed for the brigade to march off 
in a body was the tenth of February. Besides the measures taken with them, as detailed in my letter 
to Deacon Davis, I took the further precaution to make a confidential communication of the affair to 
General McDougal, and made a request that he would order the several regiments each to occupy a sep- 
arate post toward New York. This request he complied with, and thus it was put out of their power to 
execute the plan they had formed, or at least not so easily as they might have done had they remained 
together in their huts. 

I have previously mentioned that in January, 1780, I had leave of absence and returned in April to 
camp. In this period a large portion of my time was spent in Boston soliciting the general court to 
grant some relief to the Massachusetts line of the army, and especially for the officers, prisoners on 
Long Island. For them a little relief was obtained, for which I had their thanks for the assistance I had 
given them. But for the troops in general nothing was done to any purpose, or that gave the committee 
of the army satisfaction. Therefore near the close of the year the line of officers united in appointing a 
committee to repair to Boston and lay their complaint before the general assembly ; they also appointed 
a committee to instruct them. These instructions show so fully the claims of the army at that time that 
I shall word them, that posterity may judge. They ran as follows : 

Gentlemen : Having chosen you to appear in our behalf at the general assembly of Massachusetts 
Bay, with them to settle our accounts of pay, clothing, etc., we think it equally our duly, as it is our 
right, to give you instructions respecting the transactions then to be had. This we do, not because we 
doubt your understanding, ability or integrity. Our choice of you fully convinces the contrary of that, 
but for your own satisfaction and justification. 

The settlement made with us last year we apprehend to be merely a partial one, not only as to the set- 
tlement itselt, but the mode in which it was done, as it was not consented to by our then committee. 
You will therefore have that to revise. But there are certain preliminaries to be settled before you pro- 
ceed even to that, which we recommend and enjoin on you, as conditions without which you proceed not 
on the business committed to you. 


First — The town bounties given to the soldiers are not to be deducted from their pay, and where this 
is or has been done, said bounty must be refunded. This is just if we only consider that they wt-re 
promised their pay, and this bounty was given them as encouragement to enlist, not as a part of their 
pay advanced. 

Second — The time of receiving our pay, not the time when it became due {monthly), must be the 
period at which the rate of depreciation must be determined, and your calculations made accordingly. 
This is just and reasonable, otherwise we lose by those delays of payments, which our perseverance in 
the cause of our country forbade us to complain of and resent. 

Third— The extra pay allowed to officers in the line doing duty on the staff must be made good to 
them upon the same principles and for the same reasons, as their pay of officers of the line. Where it 
may be disputed whether the quantum of e.xtra pay repeatedly allow such officers was meant to be good 
money, you may have recourse to the late resolves of congress respecting said extra pay, which will be to 
you an indisputable guide. These preliminaries thus settled, you will proceed to adjusting an equal 
scale of depreciation for the present year. You will pointedly represent to the assembly the great incon- 
veniences and losses accrued and accruing to a great part, nay almost the whole, of both officers and 
soldiers, from the notes we received last year not being negotiable in any manner, for any kind of prop- 
erty, on which account many were in want of almost every kind of clothing, and obliged to sell iht-ir 
notes at a great discount from their nominal value when given ; and by this representation you will 
endeavor to procure an act that will make the notes already and those that shall be given a tender for 
the confiscated estates where sold, or that will in some way Ije equally beneficial to the army and the 
state— make them of such value that those who wish it can convert them into current money without 
loss. You will not on any account agree to our being charged with any articles of clothing, or indeed 
anything else received from the Continent, except our monthly pay, unless we are credited for all 
deficiencies of subsistence, rations and parts of rations. Nor will you agree to average the charge of 
clothing delivered by the state for the several regiments, but each officer must be charged for 
the clothing himself received, and in case any officer has drawn clothing he has not delivered according 
to the design for which he drew it, he alone must be accountable, except in cases where such officer 
makes it appear that the loss of any in his hands was inevitable, then and then only we agree to have 
such loss averaged. You will also endeavor to fall upon sucli plan or mode of delivering clothing to the 
officers as will prevent an uncijual and parti.d delivery to particular regiments or individuals, who may 
by their social situation have it in their power to make the earliest application. A like etiual and just 
plan respecting both the delivery and charge of the small stores, you will do well to agree on. 

These general principles we think sufficient to direct you in the whole of the busit;ess you have been 
pleased to undertake in our behalf — a business, we know, attended with much difficulty and trouble; but 
of this you may be assured, that the greater the sacrifice you make of your private ease and pleasure to 
serve us, the greater will be our obligations to you. 

Confiding thoroughly in your good will and abilities to discharge the duties required of you, we leave 
to you to deduce frum these general principles rules for your more particular conduct, not doubting but 
the whole you shall agree to will give us ample satisfaction. 

Signed by order of the officers of the Massachusetts line. 

J. Grafton, Colonel, "^ 

Samuel Darby, Major, -- 

f I , r, ,r- ( Committee. 

S. Learned, 

T. Edwards. J 

To the Honorable Brigadier-general Glover, Colonel Putnam, Lieutenant-colonel Tjrooks, Colonel IL 


West Point, January, i, lySi. 

In the prosecution of the business, I left West Point some time in January, 1781. I spent the winter 
and most of the spring in Boston on the objects of our mission. On our arrival in Boston the alarm wns 
given by the grand mutiny in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey lines, and had such a powerful effect on 
the minds of the general assembly, that they soon agreed and, in a short time, actually sent on specie to 
the amount of one or two month's pay for their line of the army. This was a great relief to officers and 
soldiers. What further success we had I do not recollect, nor is it material to my purpose, my object 
being to leave an evidence of my standing with my brother officers in general. 

1785. The state of New York, having applied to congress for pay for the forage consumed by 
the allied army, in West Chester county, while encamped near Dobb's Ferry, in 1781, I was appointed 
one of the commissioners on that business. 1 find by the papers on file that we were appointed February 
14, 1782, and our report is dated July 2. This was not military service, but it was business of great 
difficulty to investigate, and shows in what light my character then stood with General Heath and Gov- 
ernor Clinton, who made the appointment. 

Some time after the business of the West Chester forage was settled, I had leave of absence, and while 


at home, in September or October, I learned that congress had it in contemplation to reduce the army. 
I had grown tired of the service, for, besides my feelings in common with my brother officers, the Massa- 
chusetts line had been ill-treated, with respect to the brigadier-generals of the hne not being appointed 
as vacancies took pUice. General Learned resigned soon after the capture of Burgoyne, and Nixon in 
1780. Neither of which vacancies had been filled. Grafton and Shepherd ranked before me, therefore 
I had no right to complain for myself. But I concluded to quit the service if I could with some honor, 
and, in pursuance of this resolution, I made an agreement with Lieutenant-colonel Brooks, one of the 
youngest officers in the line who commanded a regiment, that he should remain and I would retire, which 
mode of exchange had hitherto been allowed. Under these circumstances I did not return to the army 
until after I received the following letters : 

Extract from Brigadier General Patterson's letter. 

Camp New Windsor, December i, 1782. 

Dear Sir ; Your favor of the 25th ultimo by Colonel Brooks duly received, and although I can con- 
ceive the situation and disagreeable circumstances of your family, occasioned by your continuance in the 
army, yet I cannot but regret your resolution to retire and hope on the receipt of this, with the enclosure, 
you will alter your determination. 

Your letters 011 the subject of retiring have been handed to tiie commander-in-chief, but they were not 
addressed to him, and prior to the receipt of them the resolve of congress enclosed, arrived. It is impos- 
sible that you can be deranked but by taking the steps pointed out in the resolution, etc. , particularly 
when you are informed that on the 29th ultimo, our friend, Colonel Shepherd, resigned, and in a few days 
purposes to leave camp. This procedure of his was in consequence of his being disappointed in his 
expectation of preferment. 

You will be considered as an officer in the line until we receive further directions from the commander- 
in-chief. The sooner you signify your wishes, etc., the better, for it is supposed that if you persist in 
your first resolution, Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, who has gone home, will be called for again to resume 
his former command. 

Colonel Shepherd's retiring by permission of his excellency, you perceive, gives Colonel Brooks his 
regiment again and leaves no vacancy, unless you return, which can be filled at the least, not until Jan- 
uary next, vide the resolve of congress dated November 20, 1782. 

Letter from General Washington, 

Sir : 1 am informed that you have thoughts of retiring from service, upon the arrangement that is 
to take place on the first of January. But, as there will be no opening for it unless your reasons are 
very urgent indeed, and as there are some prospect which may, perhaps, tnake your continuance more 
eligible than was expected, I have thought proper to mention the circumstances in expectation that 
they might have some influence in inducing you to remain in the army. 

Colonel Shepherd having retired, and Brigadier-General Patterson being appointed to the command 
of the first brigade, you will of consequence be the second colonel in line, and have the command of a 
brigade, while the troops continue brigaded as at present. Besides, I consider it expedient you should 
be acquainted that the question is yet before congress, whether there shall be two brigadiers appointed 
in the Massachusetts hne. Should you continue, you will be a candidate for this promotion. The 
secretary of war is of opinion that the promotion will soon take place ; whether it will or not, I am not 
able to determine, and tlierefore, I would not flatter you too much with expectations — but if upon a 
view of these circumstances and prospects the state of your affairs will permit you to continue in the 
present arrangement (which must be completed immediately), it will be very agreeable to, sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

Georgia Washington. 
Colonel Putnam. 

On the receipt of these letters I repaired immediately to camp, but being determined not to live in a 
sort of disgrace like Grafton and Shepherd, by congress neglecting to promote them when the vacancies 
took place, I wrote the following letter to General Washington : 

Camp near New Windsor, December 17, 1782. 

Sir : Your favor of the second instant came to hand on the fourth. I beg leave to assure your ex- 
cellency that it was with great reluctance I brought myself to the resolution of retiring from the service 
before the close of the w^ar, but the peculiar circumstances of my family justified the measure to my 
mind, especially while in connection with my private reasons, my retiring would be the means of an 
opening for so worthy a character as Colonel Brook to remain in service. 

But the resolves of congress of November r3 put the senior officers who retire, in such circum- 
stances as by no means correspond with the ideas upon which I agreed to retire, therefore, as your 
excellency observes, there is no opening, unless my reasons are very urgent indeed, I shall choose to 
remain at present, rather than to accept the pecuniary rewards proposed by congress, while I am 
deprived of every honorary advantage that I am entitled to. Besides, Colonel Shepherd's leaving 



service has, unfortunately, put me in a situation in which my friends might censure me should I 
resign at present. 

I am much obliged to your excellency for the information respecting the question of promotion in 
the Massachusetts line being yet before congress. Should it be decided according to the opinion of 
the secretary of war, it will undoubtedly be agreeable to me ; it is, however, a subject of too much 
delicacy for me personally to address congress upon ; if my services are considered in such a point 
of view as shall induce my general to mention them in a favorable light to that honorable body, I 
shall esteem it one of the most happy circumstances of my life. But I beg leave to suggest that if by 
any means the Massachusetts line should not obtain that justice which they have long expected, within 
a reasonable time, or any arrangement of command should take place, which I cannot reconcile to my 
own feelings as a military man, 1 trust I shall stand acquitted by every one possessed of those fine 
feelings which military service naturally begets in the human breast, should 1 then request leave 
to resign. 

I am, with the utmost sentiments of respect, your excellency's obedient, humble servant, 

RuFus Putnam. 
General Washington. 



The war being over, those who had been actors therein found their 
occupation gone and nothing that was satisfactory to fill the vacuum thus 
occasioned. To many the losses occasioned by their long absence from 
their homes and business made it difficult, if not impossible, to resume 
the employments that had once been sufficient to satisfy their wants and 
their ambition. To others, their old trades and occupations had become 
distasteful, because of larger knowledge and more varied experience. In 
this emergency their eyes followed the sun in its western way, and they 
said to one another: "Let us go thither; in that new country we may 
be able to do better for ourselves and leave to our children a goodlier 
inheritance than they could ever enter into in our old homes." 
. No one was, probably, more influenced by these considerations than 
General Rufus Putnam. After the treaty of peace was signed and he had 
resigned his commission, he went home to Rutland, Massachusetts, and 
resumed his old employments of surveying and farming. We can well 
believe that these occupations had lost their zest. After having been for 
more than seven years bearing a part in stirring events, that took hold on 
larger interests than anything pertaining to personal emoluments or indi- 
vidual good — after striving earnestly to accomplish something on a large 
scale for public interests — it must have seemed paltry and insignificant to 
work within narrow limits for private advantage. But the law of necessity 
is imperative and has no "bowels of mercy." He must do something, 
and he did the best thing that he could find to do. In the journal already 
so often quoted, the writer says: 

In June, 1783, previous to my leaving the camp, the officers of the army, particularly of the northern 
states, petitioned congress for a grant of a tract of land northwest of the Ohio river; but learning, by a 
letter from General Washington of June, 1784, that nothing had been done on the said petition, I 
engaged with the committee of eastern lands, to survey certain lands bordering on the bay of Passama- 
quoddy, and August 2, 1784, I left home for that country. I returned to Boston the eighth of the fol- 
lowing November. 


In 1785 the general assembly of Massachusetts were so well satisfied with my services the last year 
that they appointed me one of the commiltee for the sale of their eastern lands. While I was in Boston, 
my election as one of the surveyors of the lands in the western territory was announced to me, in a letter 
of May 20 from the secretary of congress, and requiring an immediate answer of my acceptance. I was 
considerably perplexed as to what answer to return, for I was not only under eng.agement to the state of 
Massachusetts — which I could not with honor disie^^ard without their consent — but surveyors and hands 
were engaged for the season, provisions laid in and a vessel chartered to take us to the eastern country. 
At the same time, I was very lothe to relinquish iny appointment for the western country. On a view of 
the circumstances, I wrote a letter of acceptance lo the secretary of congress, and a letter to the Massa- 
chusetts delegates in congress, requesting their influence that General Tupper might be accepted as a 
substitute for me in the western country imlil I could attend to the service in person. 

This was one step in the direction of opening a war for granting the 
petition which had been presented to congress by General Putnam and 
otlicrs in 17S6. During this long delay General Putnam seems never to 
have despaired of ultimate success. His thoughts still dwell on that 
western land, which something seemed to tell him was to be the scene of 
his endeavors and the ripe fruit of his effort. Was there vouchsafed him 
prophetic vision in which was revealed some small part of what was to 
be ? Did he see this great west with its wheat and cornfields, and iron 
and oil and furnaces and railroads, with a population known for its intelli- 
gence and enterprise, from which should be chosen Presidents and the 
highest officials both civil and military; and from this Northwest territory, 
where he was trying to lay a corner stone, did he know that when the 
hand of rebellion was raised to overthrow the government, that he had 
fought to establish, then should there go forth an army so strong in its 
patriotism and its numbers that no treason could endure its onset? 
Whether he saw all this or not, he saw enough to make him persistent in 
carrying out his plans. 

He was ably and warmly seconded in his efforts in this direction by 
George Washington, who seems always to have felt a peculiar interest in 
the plans and prospects of the Ohio compan)'. We can well believe 
that his own exploration in that region in the heyday of his youth tinged 
all his after thoughts and feelings in regard to it, but in 1763 he had made 
an expedition thither in the interests of the first Ohio companj^ in which 
his brother Lawrence was interested. He then passed down the Ohio 
and paused awhile to examine the region at and around the mouth of the 
Muskingum. He seems always to have remembered the glamour which 
his youthful eyes saw spread over this pleasant and attractive country. 

In 1783 the legislature of Virginia transferred to the general govern- 
ment all right and title to its lands northwest of the Ohio, with jtlic 
important exception of a large tract between the Sciota and Little Miami 


rivers, since known as the " Military district." This tract of rich land was 
reserved to pay the Revolutionary soldiers of the Continental line which 
Virginia had sent into the army. Although all impediments in the way 
of Virginia sending colonists to make a beginning in this great territory 
were thus removed, it was not given to them to transplant their customs 
and institutions into that virgin soil and give character to the states that 
were then to be. A wise Providence ordained that the industry and 
economy, the stamina and energy of New England should there take root 
and flourish. But the act of congress accepting the grand gift at the 
hands of Virginia removed one serious obstacle from the way of General 
Putnam and his confreres. As a reason for inaction, the government had 
said that they had no clear right and title to the land. As New York, 
Massachusetts and Connecticut, the last with a reservation, also relin- 
quished their claims, that excuse could no longer be given. 

From henceforth General Putnam's history is identified with that of 
Marietta, and after a few preliminaries we shall let him tell his own story, 
even at the risk of repetition. In respect to the superior ability of Put- 
nam strong proof could be found, if proof were wanted, in the facts, that 
among these men who made the first settlement in the Northwest terri- 
tory, though there were many of them graduates of colleges and had filled 
and were capable of filling well important offices and high places, he was 
facile princcps. Always cool and clear-headed, it was safe to depend 
upon him in emergencies, no matter how serious or unexpected. Inflexi- 
ble in his integrity, just and upright in all his dealings, it was safe to 
commit to him any interest, no matter how important it might be. It is 
not strange, therefore, that he was so often employed as a mediator and 
resorted to for counsel. It cannot iiave escaped observation, in the pro- 
gress of this narrative, that he was frequently employed to conduct difficult 
negotiations and manage business where sound judgment and unim- 
peachable honesty were necessary to success ; and this thing is noticeable, 
he always succeeded. There is no failure recorded in any enterprise he 
ever undertook, where the plans and execution were in his own hands. 
He was wise to foresee as well as careful to execute. There seems but 
little doubt that the colony of which he was the head would have been 
driven off or exterminated in the dreadful Indian war that followed so 
soon their coming, had it not been for the wisdom, prudence and experi- 
ence of General Putnam and his compeers. Nor was he done with nego- 
tiations and the management of affairs, even when age made him feel that 
their weight was heavy. 



The amount of General Putnam's part in the first settlement in Ohio will 
be given in his own words as recorded in his " memoir." It may not be 
amiss to supply here a few things left out in his journal. We shall find 
him again and again called to take the helm, when storms arose and the 
waters were troubled. When he went to Post Vincennes accompanied 
by the devoted missionary, the Rev. John Heckewelder, he was met 
there by a large gathering of the tribes, two hundred and forty-seven war- 
riors and si.x hundred men, women and children. The effort to make a 
treaty was successful so far as the Wabash tribes were concerned. It was 
signed by thirty-one kings, chiefs and warriors. This treaty was of 
great importance as it detatched a large body of warriors from the 
war-party. The inhabitants of Post Vincennes showed their appreciation 
of what General Putnam had done by sending him a written address, in 
which they say: "Your happy success in this arduous enterprise affords 
another proof how much you merit the honors which government has 
conferred on you, and will remain a memento of the justice of congress 
and of your integrity, to the latest times. 

In his journal General Putnam says : 

With respect to the surveys proposed to be executed tliis year in the western country, tlie hostile dis- 
position of the Indians prevented them aUogether. A treaty had been made with the Indians at Fort 
Mcintosh January 21, tySs, but the terms dictated by our commissioners were by no means satisfactory 
to the Indians, and the surveyors dare not venture into the woods for the purpose of making any sur- 
veys whatever. However, General Tupper and others brought a very favorable report of the country 
northwest of the Ohio river, and having no e.xpectation that anything more favorable would be done by 
congress for the army than what was comprised in the land ordinance of May 20, 1785. I concluded to 
join in setting on foot an association for purcliasing land in that country ; and in pursuit of this idea, 
General Tupper and myself. January 10, 1786, issued public information to all officers and soldiers and 
other good citizens disposed to become adventurers in the Ohio country, inviting those residing in Mas- 
sachusetts to meet by delegates chosen for the purpose of forming an association by the name of the 
Ohio company. 

March i, T786. Delegates from eight counties of the stale met at Boston agreeable to our request, 
and proceeded to form the articles of agreement. 


In March or April the surveyors were ordered to proceed to the western country, but, as the last year 
General Tupper was a great sufferer in expense and I had still business to attend respecting the eastern 
lands, he again proceeded to the Ohio country as my substitute. 

The business of the eastern lands gave me considerable employment in Boston through the winter and 
fall of 1786, and having been appointed, wiih General Lincoln and Judge Rice of Wiscasset, a commis- 
sioner to treat with the Penobscot Indians and others, I remained there from August 7 to September 22. 

January 1787. 1 joined General Lincoln at Worcester as a volunteer aid against the insurgents, and 
continued with him until their dispersion at Petersham some time in February. 

April 27. I was appointed justice of the peace by CJovernor Bowdoin, and at the May election I was 
elected a member of the general assembly for the town of Rutland. I attended the spring and fall ses- 
sions of the general assembly and also to the business of the e;istern lands. 

November 23, 1787. The directors of the Ohio company this day appointed me superintendent of 
all the business relating to the commencement of their lands in the territory northwest of the river Ohio, 
The people to go forward in companies employed under my direction, were to consist of lour surveyors, 
twenty-two men to attend them, six boat builders, four carpenters, one blacksmith and nine common 
hands, with two wagons, etc., etc. 

Major Haffield White conducted the first party, which started from Danvers the first of December. 
The other party was appointed to rendezvous at Hartford, where 1 met them the first day of January, 
1788. From Hartford I was under the necessity of going to New York, and the party moved forward, 
conducted by Colonel Sproat. 

January 24. I joined the party at Lincoln's Inn, near a creek which was hard frozen, but not suffic- 
ient to bear the wagon, and a whole day was spent in cutting a passage. So great a quantity of snow fell 
that day and the following night as to quite block up the road. It was with much difficulty we got the 
wagon on as far as Cooper's, at the foot of Tuscarawas mountain, now Strasburgh, where we arrived 
the twenty-ninth. Here we found that nothing had crossed the mountains since the great snow above 
mentioned, and that in the old snow, which was about twelve inches deep, the pack horses only had 
crossed the mountains. Our only resource now was to build sleds and harness our horses one before 
the other, and in this manner, with four sleds and the men in front to break the track, we set forward 
and reached the Youghiogheny February 14, where we found Major White's party, which arrived 
January 23. 

April I, 1788. Having completed our boats and laid in stores, we left Sinoul's Ferry, on the Youghio- 
gheny, for the mouth of the Muskingum, and .arrived there on the seventh, landing on the upper point, 
where we pitched our camp among the trees, and in a few days commenced the survey of the town of 
Marietta, as well as the eight acre lots, nor was the preparation for a plan of defense neglected. For, 
besides the propriety ofalways guarding against savages, I had reason to be cautious. For, from con- 
sulting the several treaties made with the Indians by our commissioners (copies of which I had obtained 
at the war office as I had come on), and other circumstances, I was fully persuaded that the Indians 
would not be peaceable very long, lience the propriety of immediately erecting a cover for the emigrants 
who were soon expected. Therefore, the hands not necessary to attend the surveys were set to work 
in clearing the ground, etc., which I fixed on for erecting the proposed works of defense. 

Thus were all hands employed until May 5, when 1 proposed to them that those who inclined should 
have the liberty of planting two acres each on the plain within the town plat, and make up their time 
after the first of July (the date to which they had been engaged in the company 's service. ) Most of them 
accepted the offer, and, with what was done by them and others who came in about this time, we raised 
about one hundred and thirty acres of good corn, yielding, on an average, about thirty bushels per 
acre. The season was very favorable ; we had no frost until winter. I had English beans blossom in 

Campus Martins was situated on the margin of the first high ground, a plain sixty chains from the 
Ohio river and eight chains from the Muskingum. It consisted of four block-houses of hewn or sawed 
timber, two stories high, erected at the expense of the company. The upper stories on two sides pro- 
jected about two feet, with loop holes in the projection to rake the sides of the lower stories ; two of the 
block-houses had two rooms on a floor, and the other two three rooms. The block-houses were so 


planned as to form bastions of a regular square and flank the curtains of the work, which was proposed 
to consist of private houses, also to be made of hewn or sawed timber, and two stories high, leaving a 
clear area of one hundred and forty-four feet square. 

Before our arrival at the Muskingum as above mentioned, none of the directors or agents had any cor- 
rect idea of the quality of the lands they had purchased, especially of the face of the country about the 
Muskingum at and near the confluence with the Ohio, where they determined to lay out their capital, to 
consist, including commons, of four thousand acres and contiguous to this, one thous,and lots of eight 
acres each, amounting to eight thousands acres. 

The survey of these eight acre lots was first of all to be executed, and a plan of them to be forwarded 
to the secretary of the company by the first Wednesday of March, 1788, the day appointed for the 
agents to meet at Providence to draw the lots, and where they actually did meet to draw the several lots, 
but had the prudence to lodge the list of drafts with the secretary until the plan was sent on. 

In the month of June, General Parsons and General Varnum, two directors of the company, with so 
many of the agents arrived at this place as to enable them to hold a meeting July 2, to which place and 
time it had been adjourned from Providence. But how disappointed were they to find that not a di- 
rector or agent had drawn an eight acre lot so near the town as to be able to cultivate it without much 
hazard. Some remedy they determined on and resolved on the foolish plan to divide three thousand 
acres of the commons into three acre lots. This was done, but they were as unfortunate as before, none 
of thein was accommodated. 

Another measure adopted to authorize the clearing the town lots and rem.aining commons. This 
was but a partial relief even for those already arrived and the number was daily increasing. 

The scheme of laying out the lots of eight acres had always been opposed by me and also by some 
others. Our opinion was that a small farm of not less than sixty-four acres should be laid out to each 
share, bordering on the Ohio and other streams, of which the first actual settlers should take 
their choice. But we were overruled. The eight acre lots having been drawn and become the property 
of individuals, it was too late to adopt the other plan. 

With respect to works at Campus Martins, the four block-houses were all up, and the private houses 
of the curtainshad been so far advanced in the course of the year as to render the place very defensible. 

By the timely arrival of Governor St. Clair, with the territorial judges, viz., Parsons Symmes and Var- 
num, a code of la^vs was adopted for the territory and officers, civil and military, appointed for the 
county of Washington before the first of September, in which month the court of common pleas and 
quarter session was opened at Marietta, but happily for the credit of the people, there was no suit either 
civil or criminal brought before the court. 

The whole number of men, including myself, who arrived at Marietta, April 7, 1788, as before men- 
tioned, was forty-eight, among whom were four surveyors, viz.. Colonel Sproat, Colonel Meiggs, Major 
Tupper and Mr. John Mathers. And in the course of the year, in addition to the above number, there 
came eighty-four men, making one hundred and thirty-two for the year rySS. There were fifteen fami- 
lies, eight of whom came as eariy as the month of August, among whom were General Tupper, M.njor 
Gushing, Major Lovedale and Major Coburn. 

It must be remembered that at the close of this year there was not a single white family within the 
state of Ohio, besides those included in our settlement, for Colonel Harmar and nearly all his officers were 
proprietors in the Ohio company. Judge Symmes with a few families went down the river in the course 
of the summer, but they wintered in Kentucky. 

We had no interruption from the Indians this year at Marietta, partly no doubt from the hopes they 
entertained of the treaty which had been promised and which was actually entered into at Fort Harmar, 
January 9, 1789. But the treaty gave us no real security or reason to relax our precaution against sur- 
prise. The directors and agents and all the proprietors that arrived were early convinced that some new 
project must be adopted for accommodating emigrants with lands, or settlements would come to nothing; 
and in the minds of some there were doubts as to the agents having authority to efiect what was neces- 
sary to remedy the defects. The proprietors were, therefore, notified to meet at Marietta, the first 
Wednesday of December, 1788, themselves, or by agents specially appointed for the purpose. 

But the proprietors neither came themselves nor sent agents in sufficient numbers to authorize their 


transacting business. Wherefore the agents conceived that under the circumstances they were war- 
ranted to proceed on the premises. Therefore, February 6, 1789, the agents first repealed the resolu- 
tions respecting the division of the remaining lands, passed at Boston, November 21, 1789, and then 
after a preamble stating their reason proceeded as follows : 

Therefore, Resolved, unanimously, that there shall be granted to persons, who shall settle in such 
places within the purchase as the agents may think most conducive to advance the general interests of 
proprietors, and under such limitations and restrictions as they shall think proper, not exceeding one 
hundred acres of each share in the fund of this company, and that a committee be appointed to investi- 
gate the purchase, so far as in their opinion may be necessary, in order to point out and ii.\ upon proper 
plans or places for settlement. 

The general regulations respecting such settlers are, that no one settlement should consist of less than 
twenty men able to bear arms and ammunition, and to erect such works of defense as should be pointed 
out by the committee. 

In pursuance of these resolutions to grant donation lands, a number of settlements were made in 1789 
and 1790, of which we shall have occasion to say more hereafter. 

The number of emigrants who arrived in 1789, as far as we are able to ascertain, was one hundred and 
fifty-two men, and among them fifty-seven families. Among the emigrants this year was the Rev. Daniel 
Story. Early in the spring Captain Zebulon Ring was killed at Belpre by the Indians, and four others 
in the woods below Galliopolis. Mr. Mathews, the surveyor, and one man escaped. John Gardner was 
taken at Wolf creek but escaped. 

1790. In the last and present year the following settlements commenced, in pursuance of the donation 
system before mentioned, viz : Four settlements on the Ohio at Belpre and Newberry, including sixty- 
eight lots on the Muskingum, and Wolf creek two settlements. 

At all these places very considerable settlements had been made during the last and present year, 
and a saw-mill and corn-mill were erected at Wolf creek and Duck creek. At Meigs' creek a block- 
house was built for twenty settlers, and another at Hi Bottom for forty. Late in the fall of the present 
year a few settlers were on the allotment at the falls of Duck creek. 

April 3. Dr. Cutler and myself, in behalf of the directors, executed a contract with William Duer and 
others at New York, for the sale of forty-eight shares of land in the Ohio company's purchase, which 
had been forfeited by non-payment. The object of Duer and his associates was to provide for certain 
French emigrants who had begun to arrive at New York. In pursuance of that object. Major John 
Burnham, with his party, arrived at Galliopolis, in the month of June, and immediately commenced 
their work. A number of the French emigrants arrived at Galliopolis in the course of the summer 
and fall. 

August 1790. Although our settlement had suffered nothing from the Indians, yet knowing that Gen- 
eral Harmar was going against some of their settlements, and other circumstances, gave us apprehen- 
sions of mischief from them, to guard against which detachments of militia, under the pay of the com- 
pany, were stationed at each settlement for the protection of the people against surprise. 

The number of emigrants this year, including Major Burnham's party and exclusive of the French 
emigrants, as near as we could ascertain, was one hundred and thirty-one families. The number of 
French emigrants that arrived at Galliopolis we never ascertained, but I find that thirty-five men and two 
families remained some time at Marietta. 

After General Harmar's defeat at the St. Joseph, near the Miama towns, at the head of the Miama of 
the lake, we were very apprehensive for some time of an attack from our neighbors, the Delawares and 
Wyandotts, but as they made no movement we began to flatter ourselves that they would not take part 
in the war which the Shawnees and Miamas had provoked. 

I have stated that in the year 17S8 we had no frosts until some time in December, but in the year 1789 
it was far otherwise. A severe frost about the fourth of October destroyed all the unripe com 
throughout the western country, and was particularly distressing to the settlers on the Ohio com- 
pany's lands. 

I left Marietta in July, 1789, intending not to return again until I brought my family. But in the 
winter of 1790, I was, with Dr. Cutler, detained in New York on the company's business, and while 
there, as before stated, we contracted with William Duer and others for the sale of one hundred and 


forty-eight share of forfeited rights, and not only so, but I undertook to engage a party to come forward 
under Major Bumham for tlie purpose of erecting cabins at Chicamago, now Galliopolis. I arrived at 
Marietta with Major Burnham's party in May, with a stock of provisions to last until December, to which 
time I had engaged their service and made myself responsible for their pay. Other business, likewise of 
the Ohio company, called my attention to Marietta at this time, which the journals of the company wil 
in a measure explain. 

I again left the settlement in the month of June and returned with my family the fifth of November 
The crops of corn were very good this year, but the increase in the number of inhabitants, with the 
scarcity in the early part of the season, gave reason to apprehend that there would not be a supply for 
the ensuing year. 

January 2, 1791. This evening a new block-house called Big Bottom about forty miles up the Mus- 
kingum, was surprised between sunsetting and dark, by the Indians. They first decoyed and made 
prisoners four men at a hut a little distance from the block-house. Finding the door unfastened, they 
fired upon the men about the fire, and rushing in murdered every person except one lad. The persons 
killed were John Stacey, Ezra Putnam, John Camp, Zebulon Groop ; four from Massachusetts, Jona- 
than Farwell and Couch; two from New Hampshire; William James from Connecticut, Joseph Clark 
from Rhode Island, Isaac Meeks, wife and two children from Virginia. In all, twelve killed. Francis 
Choat, Isaac Choat, Thomas Shaw, Philip Stacey and James Patten were taken prisoners. 

The Indians came down to Wolfe creek the same night, but fortunately two men in another hut not 
far from the block-house made their escape and coming down to Captain Roger's hunting camp, arrived 
at the mills before the Indians and gave the alarm. The Indians finding the people at the mills were 
on their guard, made no attack. 

It was now evident that the war had become general, and that it was necessary to prepare for the 
worst. Our situation was critical on many accounts. The troops that were at Fort Ilarmar had all, 
except a few invalids, been called down the river. General Harniar had been unfortunate and two de- 
tachments, one of one hundred men, and the other of three hundred and sixty had severally been beaten 
by the Indians. There were no settlements on the Ohio from Pittsburgh to Kentucky that, were they 
disposed, could afford us assistance. 

The Indians were much elated with their success, and threatened that there should not remain a 
smoke of a white man's cabin on the Ohio by the time the leaves put out. 

Our own strength at this time, except at Galliopolis. I find by a return of the militia made about this 
time, to be as follows : Rank and file, civil and military, officers included, two hundred and eighty- 
seven. This included all at Marietta, Belpre and Wolf Creek. This, it appears, was the whole force 
which, under Providence, we had to rely on for our defense, e.xcept a few of Burnham's men, some of 
whom remained at Galliopolis. 

Tlie first measure taken was to call a special meeting of the agents and proprietors within the pur- 
chase on the fifth of January, at which meeting it was resolved that additional works were necessary to be 
erected for the defense of Marietta, Belpre and Wolf Creek (Waterford); that Colonel Sproat be applied 
to and requested to raise a body of militia to consist of six spies or expert woodsmen. The directors 
immediately set about carrying the resolutions into effect. 

The four settlements at Belpre and Newberry were contracted into one. Those at Wolf Creek. 
Meiggs Creek, indeed all through the Muskingum, were collected into one, except those that came to 
Marietta. The people up Duck Creek and in the neighborhood of Marietta were all called in and took 
shelter in Campus Martins, Fort Harmar, and at the point on the upper side of the Muskingum wliere a 
large space, including all the houses, were inclosed by a stockade block-house. A strong work of block- 
houses joined by stockade work was also erected at Belpre, and another at the station up the Muskin- 
gum. Campus Martius was also much improved by additional works. 

During the winter, while these works were being carried forward, few men left the settlements, because 
they were receiving wages for services either on the works or as militia. We heard nothing from the 
Indians unul the month of March, when they came on in considerable force to Waterford, but the peo- 
ple being apprised of their approach, they effected nothing but the wounding of one man and taking 
another prisoner, whom they caught at some distance from the fort. They did not attempt the fort or 


any other of our stations, but dividing into small parties, they harassed all the settlements on the Ohio 
through the summer and fall. At Marietta they killed Captain Joseph Rogers, about half a mile from 
Campus Martius, as he was returning from a scout, and Mathew Reve at the mouth of Duck Creek. 
At Belpre they killed Benoni Hurlburt (a spy) while out on duty. They also killed and drove off a 
number of cattle from Belpre and Waterford. They also killed one man at Galliopolis and James Rilly 
at Bellville, and took Joseph Rilly, a small boy, prisoner. On the Virginia side four men were killed, 
one wounded and three taken prisoners about seven miles from Marietta, on the road to Clarksburgh. 
Finding the people on the Ohio company's purchase posted, and generally keeping a good lookout, it 
appears that the company that came out to destroy us, root and branch, quite early in the year crossed 
over into Virginia, and near the Ohio, and even as far east as the waters of the Mononagehla, did a 
great deal of mischief in murdering and capturing people and carrying off horses and cattle every year 
that the war continued. While we lost but few, comparatively, after 1791, Mr, Robert Worth and a 
negro boy were killed at Marietta in 1792, and in 1793 Major Goodale was killed in Belpre. 

February, 1792. The directors of the Ohio company having notified a meeting of special agents to be 
held in Philadelphia to take the affairs of the company into consideration, I set out on the second of 
March, in company with Colonel Robert Oliver, for that place. On our arrival we met with Dr. Cutler, 
and together prepared a petition to congress. The great object of this petition was to be released from the 
original contract for the purchase of one million five hundred thousand acres of land, and for a reinburse- 
ment of the expenses of the war, etc. , etc. Our situation was critical. Colonel Duer and his associates 
had altogether failed in respect to the one hundred and forty-eight shares they had contracted to pur- 
chase. Duer was about this time shut up in jail, where he died. He owed me $2,861.42 for building 
cabins, etc., in Galliopolis. Richard Piatt, the treasurer of the Ohio company, was also in jail and 
owed the company about eighty thousand dollars, which they never recovered. We were bound to give one 
hundred acres of land to each actual settler, who should continue in the settlement and perform military 
duty during the war. Our ability to do this many began to doubt. St. Clair had been defeated with 
great loss of men, all his artillery and stores of every kind. The Indians began to believe themselves 
invincible, and they truly had great cause for triumph. 

Our second payment to congress of fifty thousand dollars was now due, and on the non-payment of 
which it was a question whether the land we had paid for might not be forfeited. Besides, we had 
already expended more than nine thousand dollars in erecting works, paying militia, etc. 

Under the circumstances it was absolutely impossible to fulfill our contract with congress, and there 
was the utmost danger of the settlement being broken up. But in this mount of difficulties Divine 
Providence so over-ruled the minds of men that congress passed an act authorizing the President to 
issue a patent for the 75,000 acres for which we had paid in final settlement certificates, and another patent 
for a tract of 214,285 acres, and which we paid for in military land warrants, valued at the rate of one 
acre equal to one dollar in certificates. Congress also granted to the directors 100,000 acres in trust, to 
be granted in lots of one hundred acres to each settler, by which means the directors were able to fulfill 
their engagements to settlers without any sacrifice of the company's lands. We also obtained a reim- 
bursement of money paid for wages and substitutes of mihtia— $2,614. 

The expense of the war to the Ohio company was $11,350. These expenses were incurred during the 
years 1791 and 1792. After the first six months of the year 1791, the Ohio company were at no expense 
on account of militia who were called into service. They were paid and subsisted by the United States. 

I have said that, in May, 1792, I was appointed brigadier in the army. With what reluctance I 
accepted that appointment will be seen by the following letter written to the secretary of war on the 
occasion : 

Philadelphia, May 7, 1792. 

Sir : I have been this day honored with your letter of the fifth instant, notifying me that the President 
of the United States, with the advice and consent of the senate, has appointed me a brigadier-general. 
The respect I owe to the President of the United States, and the distressed situation of the country I 
now call mine, oblige me to accept the honor of the appointment, provided, however, that i hold my 
rank from my commission in the state army ; that I consider it a temporary appointment, wliich I pro- 
pose to resign as soon as the service will permit, and, in the meantime, I retain my office in the civil 
department. In justice to myself I must observe that I have not the remotest wish to enter again into 
the miHlary line ; my private affairs and the situation of my family forbid it ; and my advanced age, as 


well as the state of my health, I fear will render me unable to perform the duties of a soldier with honor 
to myself or advantage to the service. I am. etc. 

In a few days after I received this appointment I received instructions from the secretary of war, the 
first object of which was " to attempt to be present at the general council of hostile Indians about to be 
held on the Miami river of Lake Erie, in order to convince said Indians of the humane disposition of the 
United States, and then to make a truce or peace with them." 

I arrived at Pittsburgh on the second of June, and on the fifth I sent a speech to the hostile tribes, by 
two Munsee Indians, who had been taken prisoners and released for that purpose. The object of this 
speech was to notify them of the object of my mission and to request them to open a path to P^^rt Jeffer- 
son, where I e-xpected to be in twenty days, and that they should send some of their young men with 
Captain Hendrick to conduct me, with a few friends, to the place they should fi.\ on for our meeting. 
However, I did not arrive at Fort Washington till July 2, when I learned that the very day I had sent 
word to the Indians that I proposed to be at Fort Jefferson, about one hundred Indians, with new white 
shirts and their chief with a scarlet cloak, fell on a party making way in the neighborhood of the fort 
and killed or carried off sixteen men. From the extraordinary dress of these Indians, there was reason 
to suspect that they were sent out, or at least furnished with their new shirts, by the British agents, for 
the purpose of taking me off ; and the suspicion was further confirmed soon after by tlie information of 
the murder of Colonel Hardy and Major Truman, as well as some others, who had not long since been 
sent to them with flags. From information that could be depended on, I was soon convinced that the 
Indians who met at the council were determined on war, and that it was in vain to make any 
further attempt to bring them to treat of peace at present. But from information from M.ijor Ham- 
tranck, the commanding ofltcer at Fort Vincent, there was reason to believe that something might be 
done with the Wabash and other more western Indians. Accordingly, on the twenty-fourth of July, I 
sent a speech to all the western tribes, inviting them to meet me in council at Fort Vmcent the twentieth 
of September, assuring them that I should bring their friends and relations with me (meaning the Indian 
prisoners at Fort Washington). 

August 16 I left Fort Washington with the Indian prisoners and arrived at Fort Vincent September 13, 
and the same day restored the prisoners, about sixty in number, to their friends. 

The council assembled on the twenty-fifth and continued to the twenty-seventh, when the treaty was 

How far my conduct met the approbation of the President the following letter will show : 

War Department, Feb. 15, 1793. 
Sir : Your letter of yesterday has been submitted to the President of the United States. While he 
accepts your resignation, he regrets that your ill health compels you to leave the army as he had 
anticipated much good to the troops from your experience as an officer. 

He has commanded me to tender you his thanks for the zeal and judgment manifest in your negotia- 
tion with the Wabnsh Indians, and your furtlier endeavor toward general pacification. 
I am, sir, with great esteem, your obedient servant, 

S. Knox, Secretary of War. 
Btigadier-general Rufus Putnam. 

I might with propriety mention a number of instances in the course of this war, of God's evidently 
appearing by His Providence to interfere for the preservation of our inhabitants, but, suffice it to re- 
mark that, notwithstanding the very frequent passing both by land and water from one settlement to 
another, and various excursions abroad, particularly to Wolf creek mill for grinding, yet on none of 
these occasions were any lives lost or other injury received from the enemy. For myself, I have great 
reason to acknowledge the Providence of God in my own preservation, in that, while much mischief was 
done on the Ohio, especially near the mouth of the Scioto river, I made three trips to Cincinnati without 
being molested by the Indians, although sometimes alarmed. 

In 1794 Colonel Pickering, postmaster general, proposed the plan of carrying the mail from Wheeling 
to Limestown (Maysville) by water. I was consulted ; the plan I proposed was adopted, and the busi- 
ness planned under my direction. 

June 14, 1796. Mr. Wolcott, secretary of the treasury, said in a letter to me: " The President of the 
United States has been pleased to confide to you the business of carrying into effect an act of congress 



entitled ' an act to authorize Ebenezer Zane to locate certain lands in the territory of the United States, 
northwest of the Ohio." " 

But the last and best gift from President Washington was announced in a letter from Mr. Secretary 
Pickering, enclosing a commission of surveyor-general of the United States, bearing date October i, 1796. 

In what manner I have fulfilled the duties of this office, 1 shall leave for those employed under me, 
and were best informed on the subject, to determine. Indeed,! might appeal to my correspondence with 
the secretaries of the treasury, or even to Mr. Gallatin personally, that no want of ability, integrity or 
industry was the cause of my removal from office. No ! It was done because I did not subscribe to the 
measures of him whom I have called the arch-enemy of Washington's administration. 

Mr. Jefferson, in his reply to the remonstrance of the merchants of New Haven, asks, ' ' how are vacan- 
cies to be obtained? those by death are few, by resignation none. Can any other mode than removal be 
proposed? I shall proceed with deliberation, that it may be thrown as much as possible on deUnquency 
oppression, intolerance and anti-Revolutionary adherence to our enemies." 

How consistent with this declaration was his appointment of Mr. Mansfield, well known to be an ac- 
tive Tory. 

Mr. Gallatin's letter announcing Mr, Mansfield's appointment to the office of surveyor-general, bears, 
date September 21, 1803. Mr. Joseph Nourse, registrar of the treasury department, in a letter tome, 
dated January 7, 1804, observed : "I have heard it reported that you were no longer in office, but as it 
has not been announced, I was in hopes that it was erroneous until you mentioned it in your letter.'' 
This, I think, looks a little like political martyrdom, which it was wished to conceal from public notor- 
iety, that my friends might not have so fair an opportunity of doing public justice to my character. 

But, be that as it may, I am happy in having my name enrolled with many others who have suffered 
the like political death for adherence to those correct principles and measures in pursuance of which our 
country rose from a state of weakness and poverty to strength, honor and credit. 



The office of surveyor-general was one of great responsibility, and ex- 
tensive knowledge and great industry were necessary in order to properly 
discharge the duties pertaining thereto. General Putnam had so success- 
fully and ably managed the department that there was great indignation 
felt upon his removal from office. 

After this he devoted his interest and energies to all that was best and 
highest in the community that he had been so greatly instrumental in 
founding. To education and the building of that kingdom whose pros- 
perity was always dear to him, he gave his labors and his prayers. 
Largely through his influence the Muskingum academy was started in 1798. 
This was the first school in which anything higher than the common 
English branches was taught in all this Northwest territory, which is now 
so studded with colleges, academies and high schools. 

In 1801 he was elected, by the territorial legislature, one of the trus- 
tees of the Ohio University, the first college established in Ohio. He 
manifested a warm interest in securing endowment and getting the college 
on a firm foundation. 

Yet once again he was called to a public office and one of trust and re- 
sponsibility. In 1S02, the citizens of Washington county elected him a 
member of the convention called to form a constitution for the state, then 
just admitted to the Union. He did good service therein in many ways, 
especially in fighting against the introduction of slavery, which, notwith- 
standing the prohibition in the ordinance of 1787, was kept out of the 
state constitution only by a majority of one. 

In 1807 he drafted a plan for a church, which still stands as a monu- 
ment of his skill and his interest in the advancement of the cause that, 
through all his mature life, had been so dear to him. It is still used by 
the Congregational society in Marietta as their place of worship. It was 
large and imposing for the time, and General Putnam gave to it liberally 


of his means and also his personal supervision while it was in process of 
erection. He also participated in the formation of a Bible society and the 
establishment of a Sabbath-school. The latter was a new thing then, and 
something of which he had only heard, and success in getting one started 
was the source of great pleasure and satisfaction to him. 

And now, his public work was done, surrounded by his children and 
his children's children, with a thriving community to bear witness to his 
wisdom and far-seeing philanthropy, honored, with the respect of all who 
knew him, and cheered by the gratitude of those he had benefited, he 
waited in serene old age for the summons to start again for a new and bet- 
ter country, where life was ever fresh and peace eternal. 

The companion with whom he had traveled the journey of Hfe for more 
than half a century was called before him. Mrs. Putnam died in 1820. 
His maiden daughter, Elizabeth, devoted herself to his comfort, and did 
whatever love and care, working together, could do to make the down 
grade easy and pleasant to him. 

At length the summons came. In 1824, when he was in his eighty- 
seventh year, he was called to that better land for which he had 
been long getting ready, where he would find a home prepared for 
him in a "house not made with hands." His remains were taken to 
"Mound Cemetery," and there left to return to dust. As was fitting, his 
ashes repose in the town whose foundation he had been so greatly instru- 
mental in laying. There, in the shadow of a monument, erected by a for- 
gotten race to chieftains of their own, who had, perhaps, in their time, done 
deeds; worthy of remembrance, he sleeps his last sleep. He left numer- 
ous descendants, who are generally God-fearing men and women, useful 
citizens, and many of them active workers in the cause of Christ. 

It is scarcely necessary to sum up the character of this man, whose life 
has been thus imperfectly sketched. His work is his best epitaph and 
eulogium. He was not brilliant, he was not quick, but he was richly en- 
dowed with that best of gifts — good, sound, common sense, and he had, 
in unusual degree, that prescience that enabled him to skillfully adapt 
means to ends, so as thereby to accomplish what he wished. Always 
modest, he "leaned not to his own understanding," but constantly re- 
cognized his need of help from on high. His judgment was sound, he 
was patient and had great power of endurance. His integrity was never 
questioned ; he was always found on the side of the right, and no good 
cause was ever brought before him from which he willingly turned away. 


His personal appearance was imposing. He was courtly in his manners, 
after the old style of gentlemen, though oftentimes a little abrupt, after 
the manner of the Putnams. Being a much experienced man, he was very 
interesting as well as instructive in conversation. He had a large fund from 
which to draw, for he had seen much of distinguished men, and of many 
important events he could say, if he would, qnoniin magna pars fui. 

A granite monument, recently erected by his grandson. Colonel W. R. 
Putnam, marks the place of his rest. It has this inscription : 

Gen. Rum's I'utnam. 
A revolutionary officer, and the '.eader of the colony which made the first seltleinent in the Territory of 
the Northwest at Marietta, April 7, 1788. 

Born April 9, 1738. 

Died May 4, 1824. 

Persis Rice, wife of 

Rufus Putnam, 

Born November ig, 1737. 

Died September 6, 1820. 

" Tile memory of the just is Blessed." 

The children of General Rufus Putnam were: Ayres, born 1761, died 
1762; Elizabeth, born 1765, died 1830; Persis, born 1767, died ; 

Susanna, born 176S, died 1840 ; Abigail, born 1770, died 1805 ; William 
Rufus, born 1771, died 1S55 ; Franklin, born 1774, died 1776; Edwin, 
born 1776, died 1843 ; Patty, born 1777, died 1842; and Catharine, born 
1780, died 1808. William Rufus married, in 1803, Jcrusha Guitteau. 
Their son, William Rufus, jr., was born June 13, I012. Edwin married 
Miss Safford and had five children, three sons and two daugiiters. Su- 
sanna married Christopher Burlingame, and left a large family of children. 
Abigail married William Browning of Belpre. Persis married Perly Howe 
of Belpre. Martha married Benjamin Tupper of Putnam. Catharine mar- 
ried Ebenezer Buckingham and died leaving one son. General Catharinus 
Putnam Buckingham, now of Chica^'.o, Illinois. 



Marietta, queenly in name and beautiful for situation, has the honor of 
being the germinal seed of which the outgrowth is five magnificent states 
— Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. These were all carved 
out of the Northwest Territory, over which the ordinance of 17S7 spread 
its aegis, on which was inscribed in imperishable letters " There shall be 
neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory," and again, 
"Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government 
and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall 
be forever encouraged." Obedience to these requirements, uniting with 
other causes, has brought about such growth and prosperity as the world 
had never seen till now. 

Time, flying on restless wing, will soon complete a cycle of one hun- 
dred years since the beginning was made in the settlement of these states. 
The little mother invites the children, who have scattered so widely and 
wrought such wonders in the way of progress and wealth, to come home 
and rejoice with her over the accomplishments of the century, and talk of 
the hopes that light up the future. 

This book has been prepared with reference to the coming event. The 
intent and meaning of the celebration will be sought after. There will be 
a desire to lift the veil that, to a greater or less extent, hides the heroic 
age of the west, and learn to whom we owe the laying of the foundation 
upon which so magnificent a structure has been built. If v.'e cannot dis- 
charge an obligation, there is comfort in being able to ack-nowledge it. 

As it seemed desirable to make each part of the work as complete in 
itself as might be, some repetition seemed unavoidable. To lighten the 


tax on the patience of the reader, some variety was secured by allowing 
the principal actor in the event, to tell his own story, in the first part. 

Except what was gathered from the journal and papers of General Put- 
nam, the larger part of the facts worded in the book are taken from the 
writings of Dr. S. P. Hildreth. He is the ultimate source of much that 
is known of the heroic age of the west. He was indefatigable in gather- 
ing up and putting upon record information in regard to that period. He 
lived so near the time that he was personally acquainted with the actors 
in the events which he narrates. A large debt is due to him for telling 
us how much we owe and to whom the debt is due. But for him, much 
that we are glad to learn would have been consigned to an oblivion too 
obscure to be penetrated. M. C. 

Marietta Ohio, June, 1886, 



Whether or not old Fatlier Time moved with any greater swiftness in 
these latter days than he did in the centuries that are gone, events seem 
to thicken and more is accomplished. This great state of Ohio, which 
ranks as third in the grand Republic, a little less than a century ago 
was a wilderness, teeming, to be sure, with riches, but had for inhab- 
itants only the wild Indians, who did not know how to develop the vast 
resources wrapped up in a rich soil, wonderful forests, hidden treasures of 
coal and iron, and oil to create light in dwellings and cause the busy 
wheels of machinery to run smoothly. 

In the middle of the eighteenth century the Delaware Indians occupied 
nearly all of the eastern half of what is now the state of Ohio. The Chip- 
pewas were gathered around the southern shore of Lake Erie. The 
Ottawas occupied the valleys of the Maumee and Sandusky. The Sha- 
vvanees were in the Scioto valley. The Miamis dwelt by the sitlc of the 
rivers that bear their name. A part of the Wyandots, whom the French 
called Mingoes, with their half-king had settled at the mouth of the San- 
dusky and the remainder at Detroit. 

The Piquas were a branch of the Shawanees. These tribes were not, 
however, strictly confined to the territories mentioned. The Shawanees 
had a village called Logstown, seventeen miles below Pittsburgh, in the 
district of the Delawares. This last mentioned tribe had been driven 
from the Delaware to the Susquehanna, and from thence to the Allegheny, 
and again from there still further west until at last the}' settled down on 
the generous gift of the Wj'.indots. The boundary uf this tract began at 
the Beaver river and extended to the Cuyahoga, and along Lalce iM'ie to 
the Sandusky, up the Sandusky to the Hocking, down the Hocking to the 

The name, Delaware, is not Indian but came from the name of an early 
governor of Virginia, Lord De la War. Their own name for their tribe 


was Lenni Lenape, Indian for the Genesis term — man. By all the tribes 
mentioned, the Delawares seem to have been the most susceptible of civiliz- 
ation and the readiest to accept the Christian religion. It was among 
them that tlie self-sacrificing Moravians labored so successfully, and the 
victims who were the subjects of that saddest of sad stories, the massacre 
of the Christian Indians in Ohio, belonged to this tribe. 

When the Revolutionary War began, it had been computed that the 
Indians of New York, Ohio and the lakes, would muster not less than ten 
thousand warriors. During the struggle between the northern country 
and the colonies, there were but few Indians that took sides with the col- 
onies. The Iroquois, wlio had their principal seat in New York, wer* 
divided. The majority adhered to the British, while the Oneidas and 
Tuscarawas were induced to remain neutral, mainly through the influence of 
the missionary, Samuel Kirkland. In like manner the heroic and indefa- 
tigable Zeisberger for some time kept the Delawares from joining the ranks 
of the enemy. Thus on the western continent a zealous missionary held 
in check the Red men and kept them from the pillage and murder of the 
inhabitants, while the same important service was done in a similar way 
farther to the eastward. 

This two-fold influence prevented a general rising of the Indians in the 
early part of the war, when the condition of things was most critical. It 
is true that later nearly all the Delawares went over to the British, but it 
was after the defeat of Burgoyne and the alliance made with France, when 
the Americans were better able to manage them. The capital of the Del- 
awares and seat of their grand council was at the place where Newcomers- 
town is now situated. It was a large and flourishing Indian town contain- 
ing one hundred houses, mostly built of logs. 

The Iroquois in six nations held nominal sway over all these tribes, as 
well as many others still further west, claiming to own the country and 
the allegiance of the inhabitants by right of conquest. 

When preparations were made for the company of the "Ohio country," 
there were but few settlements of the Indians found along the Ohio river. 
It was too easy for the powerful Iroquois to glide down its smooth current 
and attack their victims when unaware. There were no signs to announce 
their coming, and no tracks by which it could be ascertained whither they 
were going. The Delawares and other tribes had, therefore, retreated 
from the river and only came into the neighborhood thereof when in 
quest of game. 


The award of greatest bravery was given to the Wyandots. It was a 
law among them to never surrender ; they must literally "conqueror die." 
In the battle of "the Fallen Timbers" only one chief of this tribe was 
taken prisoner, and he not until he was severely wounded. 

The foundation (if the claims to this western country put forth by 
France and England has been already briefly considered in the life of 
General Putnam. It will suffice to repeat here that France based her 
claims on the right given by discovery and occupation. England claimed 
that discoveries and settlements on the Atlantic coast gave them a right 
to have and to hold all the territory on the same parallel from ocean to 
ocean. They also strengthened their cause by alleged treaties with and 
purchases from the Indians. But the treaties and purchases were alike 
contracted with the Iroquois, and their right to transfer the country in 
either way was disputed by the resident tribes. The difficulty between 
France and England culminated in the French and Indian war, which 
lasted from 1756 to 1763. A treaty of peace was made in Paris in 1763. In 
this treaty France ceded to England all her right and title to the country 
north and east of the Mississippi river. During the French occupation, 
what is now the state of Ohio was included in Louisiana. Subsequently, 
under English rule, it became a part of Canada. In 1774 parliament 
passed what is known as the "Quebec bill," by the provision of which 
the Ohio river was made the southwestern and the Mississippi the western 
boundary of Canada, thus including all of the northwest territory in the 
province of Quebec. 

The English government did not seem to be in any haste to avail them- 
selves of the benefits of their new possessions. They did, however, 
build and fortify Fort Pitt. That point was too important to risk its loss. 

In 1770 George Washington made a journey down the Ohio river. 

Irving, in his 'Life of Washington, ' gives the following account of the 
expedition : 

Washington was one of the boaid of commissioners appointed at the close of the late war [French 
and Indian war] to settle the military accoimts of the colony, Among the claims which came before 
the board, were those of the officers and soldiers who had engaged to serve until peace, under the 
proclamation of Governor Dinwiddle, holding forth a bounty of two hundred acres of land, to be appor- 
tioned among them according to rank. Those claims were yet unsatisfied. . . . Washington 
became the champion of those claims, and an opportunity now presented itself for their liquidation. 
The six nations, by a treaty of 1768, had ceded to the British crown, in consideration of a sum of 
money, all the lands possessed by them south of the Ohio. Land offices would soon be opened for 
the sale of them. Squatters and speculators were already preparing to swarm in, set up their marks 
on the choicest spots and establish what were called pre-emption rights. Washington determined at 


once to visit the lands thus ceded, affix his mark on such tracts as he should select, and apply for a 
grant from government in behalf of the soldiers' claim. 

The expedition would be attended with some degree of danger. The frontier was yet in an uneasy 
State, and the Mingoes complained that the Six Nations had not given them their full share of the consid- 
eration money of the late sale, and they talked of exacting the difference from the white men who came 
to settle in what had been their hunting grounds. Traders, squatters, and other adventurers into 
tlie wilderness were murdered, and further troubles were apprehended. 

Washington had for a companion his friend and neighbor. Dr. Craik. They set out on the fifth 
day of October with their negro attendants, two belonging to Washington and one to the doctor. The 
whole party was mounted and there was a led horse for the baggage. 

After twelve days' traveling they came to Fort Pitt. It was garrisoned by two companies of royal 
Irish, commanded by a Captain Edmonson. A hamlet of about twenty log houses inhabited by Indian 
traders, had sprung up within three hundred yards of the fort, and was called the town. It was the 
embryo city of Pittsburgli, now so prosperous. At one of the houses, a tolerable frontier inn, they 
took up their quarters, but during their brief sojourn they were entertained with great hospitality at the 

fort. . . . 

At Pittsburgh the travelers left their horses and embarked in a large canoe, to make a voyage down 
the Ohio as far as the Great Kanawha. Colonel Croghan engaged two Indians for their service and 
an interpreter named John Nicholson. The colonel and some of the officers of the garrison accom- 
panied them as far as Logstown. Here they breakfasted together, the Colonel and his companions 
cheering the voyagers from the shore as the canoe was borne off by the current of the beautiful Ohio. 

Washington's propensities as a sportsman had here full display. Deer were continually to be seen 
coming down to the water's edge to drink or browsing along the shore ; there were innumerable flocks 
of wild turkeys and streaming flights of ducks and geese, so that as the voyagers floated along, they 
were enabled to fill their canoe with game. At night they encamped on the river bank, lit their fire 
and made a sumptuous hunter's repast. The great object of his expedition is evinced in his constant 
notice of the features and character of the country ; the quality of the soil as indicated by the nature 
of the trees, and the level tracts fitted for settlements. 

From other sources -we get the following extracts from his journal : 

At the lower end of the Long Reach, and for some distance up to it on the east side, is a large 
bottom, but low and covered with beach near the river shore, which is no indication of good land. 

The Long Reach is a straight course of the river for about eighteen or twenty miles, which appears 
more extraordinary as the Ohio in general is remarkably crooked. There are several islands in this 
Reach, some containing a hundred or more acres of land, but all, I apprehend, liable to be overflowed. 

October 26. — Washington, at night, encamped at a creek about twelve miles below these islands, 
which was pretty large at the mouth and just above an island. 

The creek with the large mouth was the Little Muskingum. The 
journal continues : 

October 27— Left our encampment a quarter before seven. After passing the creek near which we lay, 
and another of much the same size and on the same side [Duck Creek], also one island about two 
miles in length, but not wide, we came to the mouth of the Muskingum, distant from our encampment 
about four miles. This river is about a hundred and fifty yards wide at the mouth ; it runs out in a 
gentle current. It is a clear stream, and is navigable a great way into the country for canoes. From 
Muskingum to Little Kanawha is about thirteen miles. This is about as wide as the mouth of the 
Muskingum, but much deeper. It runs up towards the inhabitants of Monongahela. . . About 
six or seven miles below the mouth of the Little Kanawha, jve came to a small creek on the west side 
which the Indians call " Little Hockhocking." . . The land, for two or three miles below the 
Little Kanawha, appears to be broken and indifferent, but opposite to the Little Hockhocking there 
is a bottom of good land. 


Washington seems never to have lost his interest in the western 
country, and his influence undoubtedly did much to direct thought and 
attention to the " Ohio country," when in the fullness of time prepara- 
tions were made for its occupation. 

In 1774 the Shawnees became so hostile and aggressive, in consequence 
of the murder of the family of the celebrated Indian chief Logan, that it 
was necessary to take measures for their subjugation. 

Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, gathered together an 
army and went against them. He commanded in person the larger divi- 
sion of the army ; but entrusted a division of about eleven hundred to the 
command of General Andrew Lewis. This force was attacked by the 
Indians October 10, and then was fought one of the most sanguinary 
battles known in the warfare of the west. This engagement is known as 
the battle of Point Pleasant. The opposing ranks were about equal in 
number. Half the officers and fifty-two men were slain in General Lewis' 
division, while the loss of the Indians was supposed to be two hundred 
and thirty-three. Lord Dunmore was more fortunate. He was not 
attacked, and continued his march to Pickaway plains, where he met the 
remnant of the division that had suffered so disastrousl)'. At camp 
Charlotte, where the Indians were summoned to appear, they met Lord 
Dunmore, and all but Logan signed a treaty of peace. He did not re- 
spond to the summons to attend the meeting. When Lord Dunmore 
sent a messenger to him he sent, as an answer to the request to meet him, 
the speech so well known. Doubts have been cast upon its authenticity. 
But Jefferson and others, who had good opportunities for knowing, de- 
clared that there was no doubt as to its being authentic. Ziesberger, who 
knew Logan well, said that he (Logan) was quite capable of producing 
it. As a specimen of Indian eloquence it is worthy of repetition : 

I appeal to any white man to say that he ever entered Logan's cabin but I gave him meat ; that he 
ever came naked but I clothed him. In the course of the last war Logan remained in his cabin, an ad- 
vocate for peace. I had such affection for the white people, that I was pointed at by the rest of my 
nation. I should have ever lived with them had it not been for Colonel Cresap, who last year cut off in 
cold blood all the relations of Logan, not sparing the women and children. There runs not a drop of 
my blood in the veins of any human creature. This called on me for revenge. I am glad that there is a 
prospect of peace, on account of the nation ; but I beg you will not entertain a thought that anything I 
have said proceeds from fear ! Logan disdains the thought ! He will not turn on his heel to save his 
life ! Who is there to mourn for Logan ? No one. 

So far as the west was concerned, the most important event that 
occurred during the Revolutionary war, was the expedition and subsequent 


conquests of George Rogers Clark. He captured the British forts of 
Kaskaskia and St. Vincents, and thereby laid the foundation for the claim 
made by the United States, in the treaty of 1783, that their western 
boundary should extend to the Mississippi river. General Garfield said: 
"The cession of that great territory was due mainly to the foresight, the 
courage and endurance of one man, who never received from his country 
an adequate recognition of his great services." 



James Russel Lowell says: "The only thing a New Englander was 
ever locked out of was the jails. " If this be true, it would not be expected 
that he would long remain indifferent to the occupation of the fair domain 
beyond the Ohio. But if a New Englander does hold himself in readiness 
to undertake an enterprise, he is shrewd enough to wait until there seems 
to be a promise of success as the result of his efforts. There were many 
difficulties to be overcome before the new Canaan could be safely entered 
and occupied. These obstructions were removed one by one. One of 
the essentials was provision for a government. Congress took a step in 
that direction in 1784. A committee was appointed to draft a constitu- 
tion for the government of the territory northwest of the Ohio. Thomas 
Jefferson was chairman of that committee. A clause contained therein 
prohibited slavery after the year 1800. Until then it was, of course, to 
be allowed. Although to a great extent this constitution was inoperative, 
it remained nominally in force until the ordinance of 1787 was passed. 
The principal result from the ordinance of 1784 was that it prepared the 
way for the legislation of 1786. In that year an act was passed which 
provided for the appointment of surveyors who should, under the direction 
of the geographer, proceed to the work of dividing the territory into 
townships of six miles square, by lines running due north and south, and 
by others crossing at right angles as near as may be, unless when the 
boundaries of the late Indian purchase may render the same impracticable. 
" Each surveyor was to be allowed pay for his services at the rate of two 
dollars for every mile in length he should run, including wages of chain 
carriers, markers and all expenses. It was prescribed that the first line 
running north and south, as aforesaid, should begin on the Ohio river at 
a point due north from the western boundary of a line which had been 
run at the southern boundary of Pennsylvania, and that the first line run- 
ning west should begin at the same point and extend throughout the 


whole territory. The ordinance instructed the geographer to designate 
the townships or portional parts of townships by numbers, progressively 
from south to north, beginning each range with number i, and to desig- 
nate the ranges by progressive numbers to the westward, the first range 
extending from the Ohio to Lake Erie being marked i." 

The extinguishment of the Indian titles was another obstacle to be re- 
moved. In the treaty made with Great Britain in 1783, no arrangement 
was made for their faithful Indian allies ; they were left to the mercy of the 
conqueror. The hostility of the Six Nations had wrought so much evil in 
New York, that their entire expulsion was threatened. But mainly 
through the influence of Washington and Schuyler, a more merciful policy 
was adopted. About this time the United States government changed its 
principle of action in its dealings with the red men. The old idea that 
" might makes right" was abandoned, and they were dealt with as though 
they had rights that were to be recognized. They were paid for the lands 
they relinquished, though it must be acknowledged that the pay was very 
inadequate and oftentimes quite unsatisfactory to the sellers. A treaty 
was made at Fort Stanvvix in 1784, by the terms of which the Six Nations, 
the Mohawks, Onondagas, Senecas, Cayugas, Tuscaroras and Oneidas, re- 
linquished their claims to the Ohio valley, which they had maintained for 
more than a hundred years. In the treaty of Fort Finney, at the mouth 
of the Great Miama, the Shawnees also ceded their claims to the same ter- 
ritory. Some part of the tribe, however, were not satisfied with the terms, 
and in 1786, there were evident signs of an outbreak on the part of the 
disaffected. But acting upon the new theory that the Indians had rights, 
in 1787 congress appropriated twenty-six thousand dollars to the extin- 
guishment of the titles of the Indians to lands already ceded, and at the 
same time to extend the limits of transferred territory. The state of Ohio 
contains no land that was not honestly bought and paid for. 

The time drew near when this fair land, upon which the sun looked down 
complacently and went on its way toward the Pacific, was to be taken 
possession of by those who would bring with them civilization and Chris- 
tianity, and change the wilderness into fertile fields, and make glad the 
waste places. 

Fort Harmar was the first permanent military post established in the 
Northwest territory. It was built on tlie right bank of the Muskingum 
river, in the angle made by its junction with the Ohio. The erection of 
the fort began under Major Doughty in 1785, but was not finished till the 


following year. The fort was named for General Harmar, to whose de- 
tachment Major Doughty belonged. The fort included within its walls 
about three-fourths of an acre, and was admirably well situated. 

The Muskingum, as pure and limpid then as the founts of Castalia — 
indeed, in the Indian language the name means elk's eye, so-called from its 
transparency — flowed down between banks then clothed in magnificent 
trees, that only the richest soil could produce, and then lost itself and its 
name in the greater Ohio. Above there is a curve in the Ohio river, in 
the truest line of beauty, in which both shores sympathize, and a little gem 
of an island, whicli dame nature seems to have dropped from her apron 
as she was passing over to correct her work, exactl)' follows out the course. 
Here the valley stretches below with a long variation in its trend. The 
same point commanded a view up the Muskingum, tlian which no better 
v^fatch-tower could have been selected. 

The fort was pentagonal ; the walls were of hewn logs placed horizon- 
tally, one above another, and rising to a height of twelve feet. The length 
was a hundred and twenty feet. The fifth side, opening in the area of the 
fort, was occupied with block houses, intended for residences for the offi- 
cers. The barracks for the private soldiers were built along the sides of 
the curtains, with roof slanting inward. On the curtain which faced the 
Ohio, there was a square tower, from the top of which the tri-colored flag 
threw its folds to the breeze. A sentinel was always stationed in the 
tower, as from its position the outlook commanded an extended view up 
both valleys and down the Ohio. 

The sally-port was toward the hill back of the fort ; the main gate faced 
the Ohio ; gardens were tastefully laid out near the fort, and a council- 
house erected a short distance above. It was in this house that General 
St. Clair made the short-lived treaty of 1789. On the opposite shore, in 
Virginia, there were about a score of families living at the time the 
pioneers came to begin their settlement. Isaac Williams, a noted hunter 
and a good and enterprising man, who deserves to be held in everlasting 
remembrance, was at the head of this colony. 

In 178S the time came when a break was to be made in the wilderness 
of the great northwest, and a home fitted up for civilized men. The spot 
chosen for the first inroad upon savage life and savage possession, was en 
the left bank of the Muskingum, opposite Fort Harmar. This date marks 
the beginning of the heroic age in the history of Ohio. And more for- 
tunate than most people's, whose heroes are only seen dimly in the mists 


of the past, the men who made that period illustrious in her annals, stand 
out in full relief of form and lineament. Their characters are stamped 
upon existing institutions and all the conditions of the commonwealth. 
Indeed, some few of the children of the heroes are still actors in the 
drama which their fathers initiated at so great a cost. They are white- 
haired men and women now, and their feeble steps show that they have 
reached and passed the prescribed limit of this mortal life ; yet some of 
them have the hope that they will be allowed to remain until they have 
joined in celebrating the centennial which is so near at hand. 

In these days when railroads abound, the emigrant to a new country 
carries with him all the applicances of civilization. He knows scarcely 
more of hardship in the new country than he did in the old. Not so with 
the men and women who felled the first trees, planted the first corn, and 
made the first homes in the Northwest territory. There was no kind of 
toil and no manner of hardship with which they were not constrained to 
make acquaintance. The bride of a day, whose husband joined the emi- 
grants to Ohio, bade her father and mother, her brothers and sisters an 
adieu that was in many cases final. Nor could her homesick heart be com- 
forted by weekly or even monthly messages of love from those she had 
left and now longed for. Letters but rarely, very rarely, came to tell her 
that she was loved and cared for still. There was only blank silence be- 
tween her and the dear ones at home. For years there were no mails, 
and no way of sending letters but by a chance traveler. 

The step which led the way to the settlement of the Northwest territory, 
was taken by congress in 1776, when an act was passed offering an appro- 
priation of land to each officer and soldier who should serve during the 
war then in progress. The tracts offered varied in extent with the ranks 
of the officers. A colonel was to have five hundred acres, inferior officers 
less, and common soldiers one hundred acres. In 1780 the act was 
amended so as to include general officers. Major-generals were to receive 
one thousand one hundred, and brigadier-generals eight hundred and fifty 
acres. The first organized settlement in the west was the immediate off- 
shoot of these enactments. During the long struggle to gain independ- 
ence, agriculture had been neglected, manufactures had received but little 
attention, and production of every kind had greatly diminished, while con- 
sumption had immensely increased. 

Men who had been seven years in the army found many difficulties in 
the way of returning to the trades and occupations by which they had 


previously earned a living. There had not only been the loss of the 
annual income, but in many cases the loss of the business itself. Besides, 
tastes and aptitudes had undercjone a change, and what had once been 
acceptable and pleasant was so no longer. Yet a livelihood must be ob- 
tained, and generally men had others as well as themselves for whom they 
must provide. The general exchequer was as thoroughly exhausted as 
the private purses of the officers and soldiers. The government could 
only compensate the men, to whose efforts it owed its existence, by 
promises to pay ; and so poor was the prospect of these promises being 
redeemed, that they only brought in the market one-sixth of the sum 
called for on their face. And there came a time when they sank even 
lower than this. Hence, in 1783, as soon as the treaty of peace with 
Great Britain was signed, a petition was presented to congress, bearing 
the signatures of eighty-eight officers, asking that the land to which they 
were entitled might be located in "that tract of country bounded on the 
north by Lake Erie, south on the Ohio river, etc. General Rufus Putnam 
forwarded the petition to congress, and at the same time wrote a letter to 
General Washington in which he enforced its demands. 

The letter is important as showing how thoroughly General Putnam had 
studied the subject, and also to what an extent the success of the colony 
was due to his practical wisdom and foresight. The letter is found in the 
archives of Marietta college, where the papers of General Putnam were 
deposited by his grandson. Colonel William R. Putnam. 

New Windsor, June 16, 1783. 
Sir : As it is very uncertain how long it may be before the lionorable congress may take tlie petition 
of the officers of the army for lands between tlie Ohio river and Lake Erie into consideration, or be in a 
situation to decide thereon, the going to Philadelphia to negotiate the business, with any of its members 
or committee to whom the petition may be referred, is a measure none of the petitioners will tliink of 
undertaking. The part I have taken ii> promoting the petition is well known, and, therefore, needs no 
apology when I tell you that the signers expect that I will pursue measures to have it laid before con- 
gress. Under these circumstances I beg leave to put the petition in your excellency's hands, and ask 
with the greatest assurance your patronage of it. That congress may not be wholly unacquainted with 
the motives of the petitioners, I beg your indulgence while 1 make a few observations on the policy and 
propriety of granting the prayer of it, and making such arrangements of garrisons in the western quarter 
as shall give effective protection to the settlers and encourage immigration to the new government, 
which, if they meet your approbation and the favor be not too great, I must request your excellency to 
give them your support, and cause them to be forwarded with the petition to the president of congress, 
in order that, when the petition is taken up, congress, or their committee, may be informed on what 
principles the petition is grounded. I am, sir, among those who consider the cession of so great a tract 
of territory to the United States, in the western world, as a very happy circumstance and of great conse- 
quence to the American empire ; nor have I the least doubt that congress will give an early attention to 
securing the allegiance of the natives as well as provide for the defense of the country in case of a war 
with Great Britain or Spain. One great means of securing the allegiance of the natives, I take to be the 



furnishing them with such necessaries as they stand in need of, and in exchange receiving their furs and 
skins. They have become so accustomed to the use of firearms that I doubt if they could gain a sub- 
sistence without them, at least they will be very sorry to be reduced to the disagreeable necessity of using 
the bow and arrows as the only means of killing their game; and so habituated are they to the woolen 
blanket, etc., etc., that absolute necessity alone will prevent their making use of them. 

This consideration alone is, I think, sufficient to prove the necessity of establishing such factories as 
may furnish an ample supply to these wretched creatures ; for unless they are furnished by the subjects 
of the United States, they will undoubtedly seek elsewhere, and, like all other people, form their attach- 
ments where they have their commerce, and then in case of war will always be certain to aid our 
enemies. Therefore, if there were no other advantage in view than that of attaching them to our inter- 
ests, I think good policy will dictate the measure of carrying on a commerce with these people. But 
when we add to this the consideration of the profit arising from the Indian trade in general, there cannot, 
I presume, be a doubt that it is the interest of the United States to make as early provision for the 
encouragement and protection of it as possible. For these and many other obvious reasons, congress 
will no doubt find it necessary to establish garrisons in Oswego, Niagara. Michillimackinac, Illinois, and 
many other places in the western world. 

The Illinois and all the ports that shall be established on the Mississippi may, undoubtedly, be fur- 
nished by way of the Ohio with provisions at all times, and with goods whenever a war shall interrupt 
the trade with New Orleans. But in case of a war with Great Britain, unless a communication is open 
between the river Ohio and Lake Erie, Niagara, Detroit, and all the ports seated on the great lakes 
will inevitably be lost without such communication, for a naval superiority on Lake Ontario and the 
seizing of Niagara will subject the whole country bordering on the lakes to the will of the enemy. Such 
a misfortune will put it out of the power of the United States to furnish the natives, and necessity will 
again oblige them to take an active part against us. Where and how this communication is to be 
opened shall be next considered. If Captain Hutchins, and a number of other map makers, are not out 
in their calculations, provision may be sent from the settlements on the south side of the Ohio by the 
Muskingum or Scioto to Detroit, or even to Niagara, then from Albany by the Mohawk to 
those places. To secure such communication (by the .Scioto, all things considered, will be the 
best) let a chain of forts be established. These forts should be built upon the banks of the river if the 
ground will permit, and about twenty miles distant from each other, and on this plan the Scioto 
communication will require ten or eleven stockaded forts, flanked by block houses, and one company 
of men will be sufficient garri.son for each, except the one at the portage, which will require more atten- 
tion and a larger number of men to garrison it. But besides supplying the garrisons on the great lakes 
with provisions, etc., we ought to take into consideration the protection that such arrangements will 
give to the frontiers of Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. I say New York, as we shall undoubtedly 
extend our settlements and garrisons from the Hudson to Oswego. This done, and a garrison posted at 
Niagara, whoever will inspect the map must be convinced that all the Indians on the waters of the 
Mohawk. Oswego. Susquehanna and Allegheny rivers, and in all of the country south of the lakes 
Ontario and Erie, will be encircled in such manner as will effectually secure their allegiance and keep 
them quiet or oblige them to quit the coutitry. Nor will such an arrangement of forts from the Ohio to 
Lake Erie be any additional expense, for, unless this gap is shut, notwithstanding the garrisons on the 
lakes and from Oswego to the Hudson, yet the frontier settlers on the Ohio, from Fort Pitt to the Sus- 
quehanna and all the country south of the Mohawk, will be exposed to savage insult, unless protected 
by a chain of garrisons, which will be far more expensive than the arrangement proposed, and at the 
same time the protection given to these states will be much less complete ; besides we should not con- 
fine our protection to the present settlements, but carry the idea of extending them at least as far as the 
lakes Ontario and Erie. These lakes form such a natural barrier that when connected with the Hudson 
and Ohio, by the garrisons proposed, settlements in every part of Pennsylvania and New York may be 
made with the utmost safety, so that these states must be deeply interested in the measures, as well as 
Virginia, who will by the same arrangement have a great part of its frontier secured and the rest much 
strengthened. Nor is there a state in the Union but will be greatly benefited by the measure, con- 
sidered in any other point of view, for without any expense, except a small allowance of purchase 


money to the natives, the United States will have within their protection seventeen million five hnndred 
thousand acres of very fine land. 

But I hasten to mention some of the expectations which the petitioners have respecting the conditions 
on which they hope to obtain the lands. This was not proper to mention in the body of the petition, 
especially as we pay for grants to all members of the army who wish to take up lands in that quarter. 

The whole tract is supposed to contain about seventeen million, four hundred and eighteen thousand, 
two hundred acres, and will admit of seven hundred and fifty-si.v townships of six miles square, allowing 
to each township three thousand and forty acres for the ministry, schools, waste lands, ponds and 
highways ; then each township will contain of settlers' land twenty thousand acres, and in the whole, 
fifteen million, one hundred and twenty thousand acres. The land to which the army is entitled by 
resolve of congress, referred to in the petition, according to my estimate will amount to two million, 
one hundred and six thousand, eight hundred and fifty acres, which is about the eighth part of the 
whole. In the survey of this, the army expect to be at no expense, nor do they expect to be under any 
obligation to settle their lands or do any duty to secure a title to them ; but in order to induce the army 
to become actual settlers in the new government, the petitioners hope that congress will make a further 
grant of lands on condition of settlement, and have no doubt but that honorable body will be as liberal 
toward those who are not provided for by their own states as New York has been to all the officers and 
soldiers who belong to that state, which if they do, it will require about eight million acres to complete 
the army, and about seven millions will remain for sale. The petitioners, at least some of them, are 
very much opposed to the monopoly of the lands, and wish to guard against large patents being granted 
to individuals, as, in their opinion, such a mode is injurious to a country, and greatly retards its settle- 
ment ; and whenever such patents are tenanted, it throws too much power into the, hands of a few. For 
these, and many other obvious reasons, the petitioners hope that no grant will be made but by town- 
ships six miles .square, or six by twelve, or six by eighteen miles, to be sub-divided by the proprietors 
to six miles square, that being the standard by which they wish all calculations to be made ; and that 
officers and soldiers, as well as those who petition for charters or purchases, may form their associations 
on one uniform principle, as to number of persons or rights to be contained in a township, with the 
exception only, that when the grant is made for services already done, or on condition of settlement, if 
the oificers petition with the soldiers for a particular township, the soldiers shall have one right only, to 
a captain's three, and so in proportion with commissioned officers of every grade. 

These, sir, are the principles which give rise to the petition under consideration. The petitioners, at 
least some of them, think that sound policy dictates the measure, and that congress ought to lose no 
time in establishing some such chain of posts as have been hinted at, and in procuring the tract of land 
petitioned for, of the natives ; for the moment this is done, and agreeable terms offered to the settlers, 
many of the petitioners are determined not only to become adventurers but actually to remove them- 
selves to this country ; and there is not the least doubt but other valuable citizens will follow their 
example, and the probability is that the country between Lake Erie and the Ohio will be filled with 
inhabitants, and the faithful subjects of tiie United States so established on the waters of the Ohio and 
the lakes as to banish forever the idea of our western territory falling under tiie dominion of any 
European power. The frontier of the old states will be effectually severed from savage alarms, and the 
new will have little to fear from their insults. 

I have the honor to be, sir, with every sentiment, your excellency's most obedient and very humble 

RuFus Putnam. 

General Putnam ■was a careful observer and had seen enough of the 
benefits of the township system to ■wish to have it introduced with the 
new country whose interests he had so much at heart. Whether in con- 
sequence of this suggestion or not, the plan was adopted in the states 
made out of the Northwest Territory. Daniel Webster, in speaking of it 
said : ' ' New England acted with vigor and effect, and the latest pros- 


perity of those who settled northwest of the Ohio will have reason to 
remember with gratitude her patriotism and her wisdom. New England 
gave the system to the west, and while it remains there will be spread all 
over the west one monument of her intelligence in matters of govern- 
ment and practical good sense." Mr. Bancroft, speaking of New 
England, says: "The political education of the people is due to the 
organization of towns, which constitute each separate settlement a little 
democracy of itself" Each town-meeting was a little legislature, and all 
the inhabitants were members with equal franchise. There the taxes of 
the town were discussed and levied ; there the village officers were chosen, 
the roads were laid out and bridges noted; there the minister was elected, 
the representatives to the legislature were installed. 

Notwithstanding Washington warmly approved the plans and purposes 
explained in General Putnam's letter, no immediate action on the part of 
congress could be secured. There were reasons, real or imaginary, why 
nothing could be done. One reason assigned for inaction was that these 
lands were not in actual possession of the government. To rebut this 
objection it was claimed that at the close of the French and Indian War, 
France ceded to England the territory in question, and that subsequently 
General George Rogers Clark conquered the British forts therein, and Vir- 
ginia extended her jurisdiction over the country. In the treaty of Paris, 
Great Britain relinquished all right and title to any territory south of the 
forty-ninth parallel. It was a fact well known at the time, that during 
the adjustment of that treaty, the British commissioners persistently 
urged the making of the Ohio river the boundary of the United States on 
the west. So strenuously did they insist upon this, that Dr. Franklin 
thought it better to yield the point and accept that boundary, fearing that 
by claiming the less, the United States might lose the greater good, and 
fail altogether in securing the treaty. But when he proposed this conces- 
sion to his colleagues, John Jay and John Adams, the latter said indig- 
nantly, "No! rather than relinquish our claim to the western territory, I 
will go home and urge my countrymen to buckle on their swords anew, 
and fight until their rights are acknowledged and granted, or they have 
no more lives to lose or blood to shed." Jay agreed with him and Frank- 
lin said no more about giving up the west, though had it not been for 
conquests of the heroic General Clark, they would have had no foundation 
on which to base a claim. 

In the end, the British commissioners found it best to yield the point. 


A party in congress doubted the expediency of retaining the western 
country, even though it did rightfully belong to the government. They 
claimed that the eastern states would be better off without so great a 
weight hanging to their skirts as this great west would be. Among Gen- 
eral Putnam's manuscript papers there is the first draft of an argument 
written to convince such unbelievers that it was a matter of necessity to 
all parts of the country that the west should be retained. The argument 
covers four sheets of foolscap, and is logical and able. In the light of the 
present, one gasps at the thought that there was even danger that this 
magnificent territory might be lost to the government — this great west 
which has done so much to make our country what it is, and has opened 
up such possibilities for the future. 

In 1783 Virginia followed the example which New York had set two 
years before, and relinquished her claim to territory west of the Ohio with 
the important exception of a tract lying between the Scioto and Little 
Miami, afterwards known as the Virginia military district. It was 
reserved to pay the bounty awards of the soldiers from that state who had 
served in the Continental line. This gave a new impulse to efforts to 
make setllements in the west. General Putnam again addressed George 
Washington on the subject in the following letter : 

Rutland, April 5, 1784. 

DearSir : Being unavoidably prevented from attending the Convention at Philadelphia, as I intended, 
when I once more expected the opportunity, in person, of paying my respects to your excellency. I 
cannot deny myself the pleasure of addressing you by letter, to acknowledge with gratitude the ten 
thousand obligations I feel myself under to your goodness, and most sincerely to congratulate you on 
your return to domestic h.appiness ; to inquire after your health, and wish that the best of heaven's bless" 
ings may attend you and your lady. 

The settlement of the Ohio country, sir, engrosses many of my thoughts, and mucii of my time has 
been employed in informing myself and others in regard to the nature, situation and circumstances of 
that country and the practicability of rernovmg ourselves there ; and if 1 am to form an opinion on 
what I have seen and heard on the subject, there are thousands in this quarter who will emigrate to that 
country as soon as the honorable congress makes provision for grantin.g lands there, and locations and 
settlements can be made with safety, unless such provision is too long delayed ; 1 mean, until necessity 
turns their views another way, which is the case with some already and must soon be with many more. 
You are sensible of the necessity as well as the possibility of both officers and soldiers fixing themselves 
in business somewhere as soon as possible, as many of them are unable to lie longer on their oars waiting 
the decision of congress on our petition, and therefore must unavoidably settle themselves in some other 
quarter, which, when done, the idea of removing to the Ohio country will probably be at an end in 
respect to most of them. Besides, the commonwealth of Massachusetts has come to the resolution to 
sell their eastern country for public securities, and should their plan be formed and propositions be 
made public before we hear anything from congress respecting our petition and the terms on which the 
land petitioned for can be obtained, it will undoubtedly be much .against us by greatly lessening the 
number of Ohio associates. 

Another reason why we wish to know as soon as possible what the intentions of congress are respect- 


inf; our petition, is the effect such ktiowledge will probably have on the credit of the certificates we have 
received on settlement of accounts. Those securities are now selling at no more than three shillings 
and sixpence or four shillings on the pound, which, in all probability, might double, if not more, the 
moment it was known that the government would receive them for lands in the Ohio country. 
From these circumstances, and many others which might be mentioned, we are growing quite impatient, 
and the general inquiry now is, when are we going to the Ohio ? Among others, Brigadier-General 
Tapper, Lieutenant-Colonel Oliver and Major Ashley have agreed to accompany me to that country 
the moment the way is opened for such an undertaking. I should have hinted these things to some 
member of congress, but the delegates from Massachusetts, although exceedingly worthy men, and in 
general would wish to promote the Ohio scheme, yet if it should militate against the particular interests 
of that state, by division of her inhabitants, especially when she is forming the plan of selling the eastern 
country, I thought they would not be very warm advocates in our favor; and I dare not trust myself 
with any of the New York delegates with whom I was acquainted, because that government is wisely 
inviting the eastern people to settle in that state ; and as to the delegates of other states, I have no 
acquaintance with any of them. 

These circumstances must apologize for my troubling you on the subject, and requesting the favor of 
a line to inform us in this quarter what the prospects are with respect to our petition, and what meas- 
ures have been or likely to be taken with respect to settUng the Ohio country. 

I shall take it as a very particular favor, sir, if you will be kind enough to recommend me to some 
character in congress acquainted with and attached to the Ohio cause, with whom I may presume to 
open a correspondence. 

I am, sir, with the highest respect, your humble servant. 

RUFUs Putnam. 

George Washington. 

To this letter General Putnam received the following reply : 

Mount Vernon, June 2, 1784. 

Dear Sir : I could not answer your favor of the fifth of April from Philadelphia, because General 
Knox, having mislaid it, only presented the letter to me at the moment of my departure from that place. 
The sentiments of esteem and friendship that breathe in it are exceedingly pleasmg and flattering to 
me, and you may rest assured they are reciprocal. 

I wish it was m my power to give you a more favorable account of the officers' petition for lands on 
the Ohio, and its waters than I am about to do. After this matter and respecting the establishment for 
peace were my inquiries, as I went through Annapolis, solely directed, but I could not learn that any- 
thing decisive had been done in either. 

On the latter, I hear that congress are differing about their powers ; but as they have accepted the 
cession from Virginia, and have resolved to buy ten new states, bounded by latitudes and longitudes, it 
should be supposed that they would determme something respecting the^former before they adjourn, 
and yet I very much question it, as the latter is to happen on the third — that is to-morrow. As the 
congress, who are to meet in November next, by the adjournment, will be composed of an entire new 
choice of delegates in each state, it is not in my power, at this time, to direct you to a._proper corre- 
spondent in that body. I wish I could, for persuaded 1 am that to some such cause as you have as- 
signed, may be ascribed the delay the petition has encountered, for, surely, if justice and gratitude to 
the army and general policy of the Union were to govern in this case, there would not be the smallest 
interruption in gratifying its request, i really feel for these gentlemen, who, by the unaccountable de- 
lays (by any other means than those you have suggested), are held in such an awkward and disagree- 
able state of suspense, and wish that my endeavors could remove the obstacles. At Princeton, before 
congress left that place, I exerted every power I was master of, and dwelt upon the argument you have 
used, to show the propriety of a speedy decision. Every member with whom I conversed acquiesced in 
the reason.ibleness of the petition. All yielded or seemed to yield, to the policy of it, but plead the 



want of cession of the land to act upon ; this is made and accepted and yet matters, as far as tliey have 
come to my knowledge, remain in statu quo. 

I am. dear sir, with my sincere esteem and regard. 

Your most obedient servant, 

George Washington. 

General Benjamin Tupper, who had been employed by the govern- 
ment to assist in the survey of the territory bordering on the Ohio, 
agreed with General Putnam in regard to the desirableness of the country 
along the Ohio and Muskingum rivers as a place in which to begin a set- 
tlement, and united with him in January, 17S6, in issuing a call to those 
who, in eastern Massachusetts, were interested in the enterprise to get 
together and elect delegates who should meet at the " Bunch of Grapes " 
tavern in Boston, March i, 1786, to devise measures for the purchase of 
lands and the foundation of a colony. In response to this call eleven del- 
egates met at the time and place appointed. General Rufus Putnam was 
chosen chairman of the meeting, and Winthrop Sargent secretary. Dr. 
Manasseh Cutler was present and took an active part in the proceedings" 
A committee of five was appointed to draft a plan of an association, as, 
"from the very pleasing description of the western country given by 
Generals Putnam and Tupper and others, it appears expedient to form a 
settlement there." That committee consisted of General Putnam, Dr. 
Manasseh Cutler, Colonel Brooks, Major Sargent and Captain Gushing, 
On the third day thereafter the committee reported a plan of association, 
which was at once adopted and subscription books were opened. 

A whole year passed, however, without enough names being subscribed 
to justify further action. On the eighth of March, 17S7, the stockholders 
met at " Brackett's Tavern " in Boston, and the company was fully organ- 
ized under the name and title of " The Ohio Company of Associates." 
Samuel H. Parsons, Rufus Putnam and Manasseh Cutler were appointed 
directors. The directors were empowered to make proposals to congress 
for a " private purchase of lands under such descriptions as they shall 
deem adequate for the purposes of the company." The directors made 
choice of Dr. Manasseh Cutler to go to New York, where congress was 
then in session, and make the desired purchase. 

No fitter or more capable agent could have been selected. Dr. Cutler 
was a graduate of Yale college and had studied and taken degrees in the 
then learned professions. To the scientific world he was known as a 
man eminent in science, and his writings on botany and other branches 
of knowledge had made his name familiar to students and men of letters. 


As a scientific scholar he ranked next to Dr. Franklin, whom, in many 
respects, he greatly resembled. Of fine presence and courtly manners, 
fond of anecdote and a captivating talker, his conversation charmed his 
hearers, while at the same time his logic was so terse and incisive that he 
rarely failed to convince. He was just the man to meet the southern 
members of congress, conquer their prejudices and obtain their assistance 
in the furtherance of his designs; for, strange to say, it was upon their 
aid that he mainly depended for success. It is a somewhat singular fact 
that for the carrying out of a project, which originated in Massachusetts 
and depended principally upon Massachusetts men for successful prosecu- 
tion, with an agent from the same state to negotiate the business, no help 
would be looked for from the members of congress from that state. On 
the other hand, opposition was expected and preparations made to meet 
it and to conquer, if possible, in the face of it. The reason is not far to 
seek. Massachusetts and New York had relinquished whatever claim 
they had to territory in the west. Connecticut had done the same with 
the reservation of a tract in the northeastern part of what was afterward 
the state of Ohio. Virginia, also, as has been stated, gave up all claims 
upon being allowed a tract of land to be given as bounty to soldiers. 
While, therefore, Massachusetts had no direct interest in the opening up 
of the west for settlement, as General Putnam intimated, there was an 
interest nearer home to which that project was inimical. The state owned 
thirty thousand square miles of territory in the Province of Maine which 
had recently been brought into the market, and there was great anxietX 
to dispose of it. It did not suit the men in authority to have the 
industry and enterprise and courage which the Ohio Company of Asso- 
ciates might withdraw from their border taken out of their state and 
carried to the far-off west. If this drain must come, they would prefer to 
direct it into a channel that would benefit the parent state. If they must 
colonize, let them go to Maine and buy land of their own commonwealth. 
Dr. Cutler left his home in Ipswich, afterward Hamilton, and started 
in his one-horse chaise for New York, June 24, 1787. He kept a journal 
in which he recorded the incidents of his journey and gave an account of 
his negotiations with congress. From a copy of that journal extracts will 
be given. He spent the Sabbath, June 24, in Lynn, and preached for 
Raisons. From thence he went to Cambridge. He writes : 

Monday, June 25 — Waited on Dr. Willard, president of Harvard college, this morning, who favored 
me with a number of introductory letters to gentlemen at the southward. Received several from Dr. 
Williams and went with him to Boston. Received letters of introduction from Governor Bowdoin, Mr. 


Winthrop, Dr. Warren, Dr. Dexter, Mr. Guild, Mr. Belknap ; conversed with General Putnam ; re- 
ceived letters ; settled the principles on which I am to contract with congress for lands on account of 
the Ohio Company. 

Thursday, July 5 — About three o'clock I arrived at New York by the road that enters the Bowery. 
Put up my horse at the sign of the Plow and the Harrow in the Bowery barns. After dressing myself 
I took a walk into the city. When I came to examine my letters of introduction, I found them so 
accumulated that I hardly knew which to deliver first. As this is rather a curiosity to me, I am deter- 
mined to procure a catalogue, although only a part are to be delivered in New York. 

Friday, July 6. This morning delivered most of my introductory letters to members of congress. Pre- 
pared my papers for making application to congress for the purchase of land in the western country for 
the Ohio company. At eleven o'clock I was introduced to a number of members on the floor of con- 
gress chamber in the city hall, by Colonel Carrington, member from Virginia. Delivered my petition for 
purchasing lands for the Ohio company, and proposed terms and conditions of purchase. A committee 
was appointed to agree on terms of negotiation and report to congress. Dined with Mr. Dane. 

Monday, July 9. Waited this morning, very early, on Mr. Hutchins. He gave me the fullest infor- 
mation of the country from Pennsylvania to Illinois, and advised me by all means to make our location 
on the Muskmgum, which was decidedly, in his opinion, the best part of the whole western country. 
Attended the committee before congress opened, and then spent the remainder of the forenoon with Mr, 

Attended the committee at congress chamber ; debated on terms, but were so wide apart that there 
appeared but little prospect of closing a contract. 

Called again on Mr. Hutchins, consulted him further about the place of location. Spent the evening 
with Dr. Holton and several other members of congress m Hanover square. 

Tuesday, July 10. This morning another conference with the committee. As congress was now en- 
gaged m settling a form of government for the Federal territory, for which a bill had been prepared, and 
a copy sent to me with leave to make remarks and propose amendments, which I have taken the liberty 
to remark upon and propose several amendments, I thought this the most favorable time to go on to 
Philadelphia. Accordingly, after I had returned the bill with my objections, I set out at seven o'clock. 

Dr. Cutler returned on the seventeenth of July. Tlie journal is con- 
tinued : 

July 18. Paid my respects this morning to the president of congress. General St. Clair called on a 
number of friends. Attended at city hall on members of congress and this committee. We renewed 
our negotiations. 

July 19. Called on members of congress very early in the morning, and was furnished with the ordi- 
nance establishing a government in the western Federal territory. It is in a degree new modeled. The 
amendments I proposed have all been made but one, and that is better quahfied. It was that we should 
not be subject to Continental taxation unless we were entitled to a full representation in congress. This 
would not be fully obtained, for it was considered in congress as offering a premium to emigrants. They 
have granted us representation with the right of debating but not voting, upon our being first subject to 

It seems well to pause in the narrative here and say a few words about 
this celebrated " Ordinance of 1787." In an article in the North Ameri- 
can Review for April, 1876, it is said : 

The ordinance of 1787 and the Ohio company's purchase were parts of the same transaction. The pur- 
chase would not have been made without the ordinance, and the ordinance could not have been enacted 
except on an essential condition of the purchase. . . . The ordinance in the breadth of its concep- 
tions, its details and its results, has been, perhaps, the most noted instance of legislation ever enacted 
by the American people. It fi.\ed forever the character of the immigration and the social, political and 
educational institutions of the people who inhabit this imperial territory, then a wilderness but now cov- 


ered by five great states, and teeming with more than ten million persons, or more than one-fourth the 
population of the United States. It forever prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude. . . Its 
vital principles embodied in six articles of compact between the original states and the people and states 
of said territory to remain unalterable unless by common consent. It was well understood that common 
consent to any material change could never be obtained. 

The article prohibiting slavery saved at least three of the five states from 
the grip of that monster of iniquity — slavery. In Ohio there was a hard- 
fought battle over the subject at the formation of the state constitution, 
and a majority of only one vote saved the state from having slavery foisted 
upon it, the provisions of the ordinance to the contrary notwithstanding, 
and only that provision saved Indiana and Illinois from being the recipients 
of the same evil. 

We quote again from the article before mentioned : 

Every square mile of the territory, thus covered by the ordinance of 1787, was patriotic (in the late civil 
war) and gave its men and its means for the support of the Union. South and southwest of that 
boundary line were treachery and rebellion ; under the plausible semblance of neutrality. Kentucky and 
Missouri furnished more men that fought against the United States flag than fought under it. The 
northwestern states put more than a million soldiers into the Union armies, and they were the men who 
fought at forts Henry and Donaldson, Pittsburgh Landing. Stone river, Jackson and Vicksburg, and 
achieved the only Union victories gained during the first two years of the war. 

Of this same ordinance, Mr. Webster said : 

We are accustomed to praise the lawgivers of antiquity ; we help to perpetuate the fame of Solon and 
Lycurgus. but I doubt whether any single law of any lawgiver, ancient or modern, has produced effects 
more of distinct, marked and lasting character than the ordinance of 1787. 

Also the late Chief Justice Chase said of it : 

Never, probably, in the history of the world did a measure of legislation so accurately fulfill, and yet 
so mightily exceed, the anticipations of the legislators. 

There seems to be conclusive proof that Dr. Cutler helped to shape this 
ordinance, and that the incorporation of some of its most beneficial 
features was due to him. He was in New York negotiating for the pur- 
chase of land when the ordinance was passed; and though not a member 
of congress, and, of course, not a member of the committee for drafting 
the ordinance, it was submitted to him for revision and amendments. As 
has already been quoted, he says in his journal : " All the amendments I 
proposed were made except one." And he elsewhere stated that among 
the amendments he made were the prohibition of slavery and the enact- 
ments for the support of religion and the encouragement of education. 

Dr. Cutler was assiduous in his endeavors to accomplish the business 
for which he had come. The difficulties in the way of negotiating the 
purchase he found to be many and not easily overcome. There was need 
of all this consummate tact and unwearied perseverance. The history of 



the transaction, as worded in his jonrnal, shows that lobbying is not so 
recent an invention as has sometimes been supposed. Certain it is that 
he was greatly helped in the accomplishment of his object by its use. He 
received much attention and many invitations to dine and sup with mem- 
bers of congress and other distinguished men. " He was skillful in always 
keeping his errand in view, and yet so treating his subjects as to interest 
and not tire his hearers." He gives a full and interesting account of the 
great men that he met. He seems to have devoted himself mainly to 
winning over the members from the south, well knowing that it must be 
by their influence he must carry his point, if he carried it at all. The 
progress toward successful accomplishment seemed to him very slow, and 
again and again he despaired of making the purchase upon any such terms 
as he desired, and prepared to return home and leave the contract 

He writes in his journal : 

July 20. This morninj:^ the secretary of congress furnished me the ordinance of yesterday, which 
states the conditions of a contract, but on terms to which I shall by no means accede. I informed the 
committee of congress that 1 would not consent on the terms proposed; that I should prefer purchasing 
lands from some of the states, wlio would give me incomparably better terms, and therefore proposed 
to leave the city immediately. 

July 21. Several members of congress called on me enrly this morning. They discovered much 
anxiety about a contract, and assured me that congress, on finding that I was determined not to accept 
their terms and had proposed leaving the city, had discovered a much more favorable disposition, and 
believed if I renewed my request I might obtain conditions as reasonable as I desired. I was very 
indifferent, and talked much of the advantages of a contract with one of the states. This I found had 
the desired effect. At length 1 told them that if congress would acceed to the terms of my proposal, t 
would extend the purchase from the tenth township from the Ohio and to the Scioto inclusively, by 
which congress would pay more than four millions of the public debt ; that our intention was to secure a 
large and immediate settlement of the most robust and industrious people in America, and that it would 
be made systematically, which must immediately advance the value of Federal lands, and prove an 
important acquisition to congress. On these terms I would renew the negotiation if congress was 
disposed to take the matter up again. Dined with General Webb at the Mess house in Broadway, 
opposite the play-house. Spent the evening v\itli Mr. Dane and Mr. Miilikin. They informed nic thnt 
congress had taken up my business again. 

July 23. My friends had made every exertion in private conversation to bring over my opponents in 
congress. In order to get at some of them, in order to work powerfully on their minds, we were 
obliged to employ three or four persous before we could get at them. In some instances we engaged a 
person, who engaged a second, and he a third, and so on to the fourth, before we could effect our pur- 
pose. In these manoeuvers I am much beholden by the assistance of Colonel Duer and Major Sargent. 
The matter was taken up this morning in congress and warmly debated until three o'clock, when 
another ordinance was obtained. This was not to the minds of any of my friends, who were considera- 
bly increased in congress, but they conceived it to be better than the former, and they had obtained an 
additional clause empowering the board of treasury to take order upon this ordinance and complete the 
contract upon the general principles contained in it, which still left room for negotiation. Spent the 
evening with Colonel Gragson and members of congress from the southwest, who were in favor of a con- 
tract. Having found it impossible to support General Parsons as a candidate for governor, after the 


interest that General St. Clair had secured, and suspecting that this might be some impediment in the 
way (for my endeavors to make interest for him were well known) and the arrangements for civil officers 
being on the carpet, I embraced the opportunity frankly to declare, that for my own part, and ventured 
to engage for Major Sargent, if General Parsons could have the appointment of first judge and Sargent 
secretary, we would be satisfied ; and I heartily wished that his excellency General St. Clair might be 
governor, and that I would solicit the eastern members to favor such an arrangement. This I found 
rather pleasing to the southern members, and they were so complacent as to ask repeatedly what 
office would be agreeable to me in the western country. I assured them that I wished for no appoint- 
ment to the civil line. Colonel Grayson proposed the office of one of the judges, which was seconded 
by all the gentlemen present. The obtaining an appointment, 1 observed, had never come into my 
mind nor was there any civil office I should at present be willing to accept. This declaration seemed 
to be rather surprising, especially to men who were so much used to solicit or be solicited for appoint- 
ments of honor and profit. They deemed it to be the more urgent on this head. I observed to them 
although I wished for nothing for myself, yet 1 thought the Ohio company entitled to some attention, 
that one of our judges besides General Parsons should be of that body, and that General Putnam was 
the man best qualified and would be most agreeable to that company, and gave them his character. We 
spent the evening very agreeably until a late hour. 

luly 24. I received this morning a letter from the board of treasury, enclosing the resolution of con- 
gress, which passed yesterday, and requesting to know whether 1 was willing to close a contract on those 
terms. As the contract had now become of much greater magnitude than when I had only the Ohio 
company in view, I felt a diffidence in acting alone, and wished Major Sargent to be joined with me, al- 
though he had not been formally empowered to act, for the commission from the directors was solely to me. 
It would likewise takeoff some part of the responsibility from me should the contract not be agreeable. 
After consulting Duer, I proposed it to Sargent, who readily accepted. We answered the letter from 
the board as jointly commissioned in making the contract. We informed the board that the terms in the 
resolve of congress were such as we would not accede to without some variation. We, therefore, begged 
leave to state to the board the terms on which we should be ready to close the contract, and that those 
terms were our ultimatum. This letter was sent to the board, but the packet having just arrived, from 
England and another to sail ne.xt morning, it was not in their power to attend any further to our business 
for the day. Dined with Mr. Hilleyas, treasurer of the United States. I spent the evening with Mr. 
Osgood, president of the board of treasury, who appeared to be very solicitious to be informed fully of 
our plan. No gentleman has a higher character for planning and calculating than Mr. Osgood. I was, 
therefore, much pleased at having an opportunity of fully explaining it to him. We were, unfortunately, 
interrupted with company. We, however, went over the outlines, and he was well disposed. 

luly 2i;. Mr. Osgood desired me to dine with him. . . Our plan, I had no scruple to communi- 
ate and went over it in all its parts. Mr. Osgood made many valuable observations. The extent of his 
information astonished me. His views of the continent of Europe were so enlarged that he appeared to 
be a perfect master of every subject of the kind. He highly approved of our plan, and told me that he 
thought it was the best formed in America. He dwelt much on the advantages of system in a new set- 
tlement ■ said system had never before been attempted. If we were able to establish a settlement as he 
proposed, however small in the beginning, we should then have surmounted our greatest difficulty ; that 
everv other object would be within our reach, and if the matter were pushed with spirit, he believed it 
would be one of the greatest undertakings ever yet attempted in America. He thought congress would do 
a special service to the United States, even if they gave us the land, rather than that our plan should 
be defeated, and promised to make every exertion in his power in our favor. We spent the afternoon 
and evening alone, and very agreeably. 

luly 26. Being now eleven o'clock. General St. Clair was obliged to attend congress. After we came 
into the street, General St. Clair assured us he would make every possible exertion to prevail with congress 
to accept the terms contained in our letter. He appeared much interested and very friendly, but said we 
must expect opposition. I was fully convinced that it was good policy to give up Parsons and openly to 
appear solicitous that St. Clair might be appointed governor. Several gentlemen have told me that our 
matters went on much better since St. Clair and his friends had been informed that we had given up 


Parsons, and that I had solicited the eastern members in favor of St. Clair's appointment. I immedi- 
ately went to Sargent and Duer. We now went into the true spirit of negotiation with great bodies. 
Every machine in the city it was possible to set to work, we now put in motion. Few, Bingham and 
Reamy are our principle opposers. Of Few and Bingham there is hope, but to bring over that stubborn 
mule of a Reamy is beyond our power. The bearer of treasury, I think, will do us much service, if Dr^ 
Lee is not against us, though Duer assures me that I have got the length of his foot, and he calls me a 
frank, open, honest New England man, which he considers as an uncommon animal ; yet from his zeal- 
ous, cautious make, I feel suspicious of him, especially as Mr. Osgood tells me he has made evt-ry attempt 
to learn his sentiments but is unable to do so. His brother, Richard Henry Lee, is certainly our fast 
friend, and we have hopes he will engage him in our interest. Dined with Sir John Temple in company 
with several gentlemen. Immediately after dinner I took my leave of them and called on Dr. Holton. 
He told me congress had been warmly engaged in our business the whole day ; that the opposition was 
lessened, but our friends did not think it prudent to come to a vole lest there should not be a majority 
in our favor. I felt much discouraged, and told Dr. Holton I thought it in vain to wait any longer, and 
should certainly leave the next day. He cried out on my impatience ; said if I obtained my purposes in 
a month from that time I should be far more expeditious than was common in getting much smaller 
matters through congress ; that it was of great magnitude, for it far exceeded any private contract ever 
made before in the United States ; that if I should fail now I ought still to pursue the matter, for I 
should finally most certainly obtain the object I wished. To comfort me, he assured me, on his honor, 
that he never knew so much attention paid to any one person who made application to them on any 
kind of business, nor did he ever know them more pressing to bring it to a close. He could not have sup- 
posed that any three men from New England, even of the first characters, could have accomplished so 
much in so short a time. This, I believe, was mere flattery, though it was delivered with a very serious 
air ; but it gave some consolation. I now learned very nearly who were for and against the terms. 
Bingham has come over, but Few and Reamy are stubborn. Unfortunately there are only eighty states 
represented, and unless seven of them are in favor, no ordinance can pass. Every moment of this evening 
till two o'clock was busily employed. A warm siege was laid on Few and Reamy, from different quarters, 
and if the point is not effectually carried the attack is to be renewed in the morning. Duer, Sargent and 
myself have agreed that if we fail Sargent shall go on to Maryland, which is at present not represented, 
and prevail on the members from that state to come on and interest themselves, if possible, in our plan. 
I am to go on to Connecticut and Rhode Island to solicit the members from those states to go on to New 
York, and to lay anchor to wmdward with them. As soon as these states are represented, Sargent 
is to renew the application, and I have promised Duer that if it is necessary I will return to New York 

The result was better than Dr. Cutler ventured to hope fi^r. The next 
day's entry is as follows : 

Friday, July 27. I arose this morning and after adjusting my baggage (for I was determined to leavu 
New Yoik this day) I set out on a general morning visit, and paid my respects to all members of congress 
in the city, and informed them of my intention to leave the city that day. My expoctions of forming a 
contract, I told them, were nearly at an end. I should, however, wait the decision of congress, and if 
the terms which we had stated, and which I considered to be very advantageous to congress, consider- 
ing the state of the country, were not accepted, we must turn our attention to some other part of the 
country. New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts would sell us land at half a dollar an acre, and 
give us exclusive privileges beyond what we had asked of congress. The speculating plan connected 
between the British of Canada and the New Yorkers was now well known. The uneasiness of the Ken- 
tucky people with respect to the Mississippi was notorious. A revolt of that country from the Union, if 
a war with Spain took place, was universally acknowledged to be highly probable ; and most certainly 
a systematic settlement in that country, conducted by men strongly attached to the Federal government, 
I considered to be an object worthy of some attention. Besides, if congress rejected the terms now 
offered, there could be no prospect of any application from any other quarter. If a fair and honorable 
purchase could now be obtained, I presumed, contracts with the natives, similar to that made with the 


Six Nations, must be the consequence, especially as it might be more easily carried into effect. These, 
and such like, were the arguments I used. They seemed to be fully acceded to, but whether they will 
avail is very uncertain. Mr. R. H. Lee assured me he was prepared for one hour's speech, and he hoped 
for success. All urged me not to leave the city so soon, but I assumed an air of perfect indifference, 
and persisted in my determination, which had, apparently the effect I wished. Passing the city hall, as 
the members were going m to congress, Colonel Carrington told me he believed Few was secured ; that 
little Reaniy was left alone, and that he was determined to make one trial of what he could do in con- 
gress. Called on Sir John Temple for letters to Boston; bade my friends good-bye, and, as it was 
my last day, Mr. Henderson insisted on my dining with him and a number of friends he had invited. 

At half-past three I was informed that an ordinance had passed congress on the terms stated in our 
letter, without the least variation, and that the board of treasury was directed to take order and close the 
contract. This was agreeable but unexpected intelligence. Sargent and I went immediately to the 
board, who had received the ordinance, but were then rising. They urged me to tarry the next day and 
they would put by all other business to complete the contract ; but I found it inconvenient, and, after 
making a general verbal adjustment, left it with Sargent to finish what was to be done at present. Dr. 
Lee congratulated me and declared he would do all in his power to adjust the terms of the contract, so 
far as was left to them, as much in our favor as possible. 1 proposed three months for collecting the 
first hall million of dollars, and for executing the instruments of congress, which was acceded to. By 
this ordinance we obtained the grant of near five million acres of land, amounting to three and a half 
million dollars. One million and a half acres for the Ohio company and the remainder for a private 
speculation, in which many of the principal characters in America are concerned. Without connecting 
this speculation, similar terms and advantages could not have been obtained for the Ohio company. On 
my return through Broadway, I received the congratulations of my friends in congress, and others with 
whom I happened to meet. At half-past six I took my leave of Mr. Henderson and family, where I had 
been most kindly and generously entertained. Left the city by way of the Bowery. 

Dr. Cutler called on General Parsons, at Middleton, Connecticut, on his 
way home. Of his entertainment with him he writes : 

July 30. When I had informed the general of my negotiations with congress, I had the pleasure to 
find it not only met his approbation, but he expressed his astonishment that I had obtained terms so 
advantageous, which, he said, were beyond his expectations. He assured me he preferred the ap- 
pointment of first judge to that of governor, especially if General St. Clair was governor. He pro- 
posed writing to General St. Clair and his friends in congress, that they would procure an appoint- 
ment for nie on the same bench ; but I absolutely declined, assuring him that I had no wish to go 
in the civil line. 

For the million five hundred acres bought for the Ohio company, pay- 
ment was to be made " in specie, loan office certificates reduced to specie, 
in certificates of the liquidated debt reduced to specie." The price to be 
paid was one dollar. 


Thus, after much effort and many delays, Dr. Cutler succeeded in se- 
curing the terms he desired and had so ably contended for, though, as has 
been seen, he deviated from his original purpose of making a purchase 
merely for the Ohio company. He bought, in all, about five million acres, 
a million and a half for the Ohio company and three and a half millions for 
private speculators. 

The Ohio company paid half the purchase money at the time of making 
the contract ; the land was to be conveyed upon the receipt of the remain- 
der. But some of the shareholders failed to meet their engagements, and 
the Indian war breaking out in less than two years after the colonists 
reached their new home, greatly crippled them, and the two causes com- 
bined effectually prevented the company from meeting its engagements. 
In 1792, the directors met in Philadelphia and sent a memorial to con- 
gress asking for relief After some discussion and difficulty, a bill was 
passed authorizing the conveyance of the half of the land already paid for 
— seven hundred and fifty thousand acres — to be made out, also another 
conveyance of seven hundred and fourteen thousand, two hundred and 
eighty-five acres, to be paid for within six months by warrants issued for 
bounty rights, and yet another conveyance of one hundred thousand 
acres, to be conveyed in tracts of one hundred acres, "as a bounty to 
each male person of eighteen years of age, being an actual settler." The 
bill was approved and the patents issued to Rufus Putnam, Manasseh 
Cutler, Robert Oliver, Griffin Green in trust for the Ohio Company of As- 
sociates. The patents were signed by George Washington, President, 
and Thomas Jefferson, secretary of state. These three patents and also 
the original contract of October 2, 1787, are in the library of Marietta 

Much has been said in regard to the unwise choice made by the directors 
of the Ohio company in locating their lands. It has been stated, and 
perhaps with truth, that with the whole northwest territory before them 


from which to choose, they selected a tract that included within it more 
poor, rough, broken land than could be found in a body anywhere else in 
the whole territory. Lying, as a part of it does, among the foot hills of 
the Alleghanies, it is hilly and sterile compared with other portions of the 
west. There were certain considerations which seem to have influenced 
the company in locating their lands. The first and most potent was the 
advice of Mr. Hutchins, the "government geographer." Dr. Cutler had 
repeated conversations with him while in New York negotiating the pur- 
chase, and Mr. Hutchins very emphatically advised him to make the 
location along the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, in the region where the 
two united. He claimed to have a thorough knowledge of the whole 
western territory then under the control of the government, and asserted 
that there could not be found so desirable a tract as the one proposed. 
Another influential reason for the choice was that there were but few 
Indians located on the said tract of land. The celebrated Iroquois or Six 
Nations had been in the habit of coming down the Ohio in their canoes 
and attacking the Indians that lived along the banks, taking them 
unawares. This unpleasant experience was repeated so often that to 
escape it the natives retreated farther and farther from the banks of the 
river, until there was a tract of country extending thirty or forty miles 
back from the river in which there were few unimportant villages and 
scarcely any regular inhabitants. This whole region was regarded as a 
common hunting ground, and used as such. There would not, therefore, 
be the necessity for removing Indians in order to take possession. A 
third and very potential reason was the immediate vicinage of Fort Harmar. 
The principal personages of the colony were men of war, too shrewd in 
matters generally, and too well acquainted with Indian character to trust 
to present appearances or any treaties or promises of peace. Soldiers 
and instruments of war were better safeguards than treaties, how well 
soever guaranteed. The result justified their opinion. It was only the 
presence of soldiers and their own wisdom, courage and acquaintance with 
war that saved the colonists from extermination in the bloody conflict 
with the Indians that continued from 1791 to 1795. That those who 
located the purchase judged wisely from a commercial point of view, is 
shown clearly in the address of Hon. W. P. Cutler in the appendix. 

As soon as the purchase was completed, General Putnam and his asso- 
ciates made preparations to go at once and possess the land. The com- 
pany had previously ordered "that four surveyors should be employed 


and twenty-two men to attend them ; that there should be added to this 
number twenty men, including six boat-builders, four house-carpenters, 
one blacksmith and nine common workmen." These men were to be 
subsisted at the expense of the company, and allowed wages, at the rate 
of four dollars each per montli till discharged. 

The surveyors employed were Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, Mr. Ansclm 
Tupper and Mr. John Mathews from Massachusetts, and Colonel Putnam 
and Jonathan Meigs from Connecticut. The boat-builders and mechanics, in 
all twenty men, started, under the command of Major Haffield White, 
from Dan vers, Massachusetts in December, 1787, and reached Simerill's 
ferry on the Youghiogheny river, thirty miles above Pittsburgh, late in 
January. The surveyors and their attendants, to the number of twenty-six, 
met at Hartford, Connecticut, early in January and began their wearisome 
journey, under the command of General Putnam, assisted b)' Colonel Eb- 
enezer Sproat. General Putnam having business in New York, soon left 
the company and did not rejoin them until January 24. 

When the party reached the mountains, they found them covered to 
such a depth with snow that it was impossible to go on with their wagons. 
"Our only resource," General Putnam says, " was to build sleds and har- 
ness tandem, and in this manner with four sleds, and men marching in 
front, we set forward and reached the " Yoh " the fourteenth of Feb- 

The march was slow and toilsome. To men less strong and courageous 
the difficulties would have seemed insurmountable. The men had to 
break a way through the snow for the weary horses to follow with their 
sleds. They could accomplish the journey of but a few miles each day 
and at night bivouacked around Jarge fires which they kindled in the 
woods. They were two weary weeks in reaching the "Yoh" where the 
other detachment awaited them. 

Upon arriving, another disappointment was in store for them. They 
found that but little progress had been made in the building of the boats 
in which they were to perform the remainder of their journey. But, with 
the additional force of men, and under the eye of the master, the work 
progressed more rapidly. Captain Jonathan Devol was the architect and 
superintendent of the boat building. The remainder of February and all 
the month of March was spent in getting the boats ready. The flotilla 
consisted of a galley, which had an estimated capacity of fifty tons, a flat 
boat of about three tons burthen and three canoes. The galley was forty- 


five feet long, twelve broad and was stoutly built ; it had a covered deck, 
which was high enough for a man to walk under without stooping, and the 
sides were strong enough to resist the force of a bullet in case of an 

In the afternoon of April i, the galley, to which they had given the 
name of Mayfloivcr, with the accompanying boats, left their moorings and 
now after weary months of travel and work and waiting, the emigrants 
were launched upon waters that would carry them, without toil or anxi- 
ety, to their future home in the yet unknown forest. They soon passed 
down the tributary and entered the tranquil Ohio, the la belle riviere of its 
former claimants. The trees were already putting on their spring cloth- 
ing, and the birds sang their songs of greetings in their branches. Green 
ness was creeping over the sides of the hills that bordered the river. To 
the greater part of the eyes of those that looked upon them, it was a new 
thing to see trees so ambitiously lifting up their branches toward the heavens, 
while their wonderful magnitude gave evidence of depth and richness of soil, 
that was both strange and encouraging to the beholders. To men accus- 
tomed to the sterile soil of New England, we can well believe that the 
glory and the grandeur of the scenes through which they were passing as 
they descended the river, seemed like glimpses of fairy land. At any 
rate, whether any sentiment was waked up or not, each day brought 
them nearer to that long-talked-of and much-desired country, "the Ohio," 
where they were to make homes for themselves and their children. On 
the morning of Monday, the seventh of April, clouds obscured the sun and 
rain fell during a considerable part of the day. All were on the qidvive, 
for they felt that they drew near the promised land. As they floated past 
Ren's island, Captain Devol said to General Putnam, "I think it is time 
to take an observation; we must be near the mouth of the Muskingum." 
And yet, notwithstanding their watchfulness, they passed the mouth of 
the river without seeing it, and found themselves abreast of Fort Harmar. 
The trees on the banks of the Muskingum so reached out their branches, 
that with the help of the fog, they concealed the mouth of the river. It 
was found difficult to turn back their boats, so they landed at Fort Har- 
mar, and Major Doughty, the commandant of the garrison, sent men to 
help them tow the boats to the east side of the river. The sun had 
reached the meridian when they landed on the site of the new town that 
was soon to be. 

The seventh of April, 1788, was a memorable day in the annals of Ohio, 


The corner stone of the threat Buckeye state was laid at Marietta on that 
day, a state that in less than a century has become the third in the Union 
for wealth and population, and has freely furnished men to fill the high 
places in the national councils and in the army. On that seventh of April 
General Putnam and his fellow workers lost no time in dallying. The 
boards, brought for the purpose, were at once landed, and the erection of 
temporary habitations begun. A large marquee was set up for General 
Putnam, under which he lived and transacted business until the fort was 
built. The day after their arrival the surveyors began to lay out the town. 
The a.xes of the woodmen awoke the echoes that had slept so long, and the 
mighty trees began to fall before the ax of the chopper. y\s it would take 
more time than they could spare to fell so many trees, many of them were 
girdled and left standing. Although the season was so far advanced when 
they reached there, they managed to plant one hundred and thirty acres 
of corn that first season. The ri\er furnished an abundance offish, and in 
the forests were found buffalo, bears and deer in profusion, and turkeys in- 
numerable ; so that their larders were cheaply and abundantly supplied. 
Contentment seems to have settled down upon the little pioneer company, 
and though, doubtless, among the forty-seven men there were those who 
hankered after what they had left behind them in their New England homes, 
upon the whole they were well pleased with what they saw, and still better 
pleased with what they hoped for. 

In May, General Putnam wrote to Dr. Cutler: "The men are generally 
in good health, and, I believe, much pleased with the country ; that J am 
so, myself, you may rest assurred. I can only add the situation of the city 
plat is the most delightful of any I ever saw." Another colonist wrote: 
" This country, for fertility of soil and pleasantness of situatii^n, not only 
exceeds my expectation, but exceeds any part of Europe or America I 
ever was in. " 

Six thousand acres were set apart for the new city. The surveyors laid 
out the streets, the more important ones parallel with the Muskingum 
river, the others cutting them at right angles. The lots were ninety by 
one hundred and eighty feet. Dr. Cutler had suggested Adelphia as a 
name suitable for the new town ; but at a meeting of the directors, held 
on the second of July, 1788, the first meeting held west of the mountains, 
the following resolution was passed : 

Resoh'fd, that the city at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, be called Marietta; tliat 
the directors write to his excellency, the French ambassador, iniforming him of the motives for nam- 


ing the city, and request his opinion whether it will be advisable to present Iier majesty of France a 
public square. 

Alas ! the beautiful queen was too near the beginning of her fearful suffer- 
ing to interest herself in a public square in a far off city in the distant heart 
of the new world. 

General Putnam was wise to forsee danger and efficient in preparing to 
meet it. He had not much confidence in the power of existing treaties to 
keep the Indians at peace with those who, in their view of the case, were 
invading hunting grounds that of right belonged to themselves. At once, 
therefore, he began the erection of a fort which should prove a place of 
refuge to the colonists in time of danger, or in case the Indians showed 
any signs of hostility. On the day of their first landing, there were seventy 
Indians, men, women and children, with Captain Pipe at their head, in 
the neighborhood of Fort Marmar. They had come to agree upon a 
treaty and to trade their peltries with the soldiers in the garrison. They 
had given noisy assurance of welcome to General Putnam and his associ- 
ates, but he knew them too well to trust them. 

A stockade fort was erected a short distance from the Muskingum river, 
and nearly a mile from the Ohio. The sides formed a regular parallelo- 
gram, and were one hundred and eighty feet in length. At each corner 
there was a strong block-house surmounted by a watch tower. These 
houses were twenty feet square below and twenty-four above. The 
dwelling houses were in the curtains. They were builded of hewn logs 
and were two stories high. The front was toward the Muskingum, and in 
the center was a belfry, underneath which was the office of the Hon. 
Winthrop Sargent, secretary of the company. There were loopholes for 
artillery and also for musketry. General St. Clair occupied the south- 
west block-house; the northwest was used for public worship and holding 
court. Individuals were allowed to fit up dwellings in the curtains, 
according to their inclination or abilitj'. There was room in them for the 
accommodation of forty or fifty families. During the war they were 
made to accommodate between two and three hundred persons. This 
fort was called Campus Martins, showing that there were classical scholars 
among the pioneers, who preserved their academic taste. One of the 
actors in these scenes wrote of it : " Campus Martius is the handsom- 
est pile of buildings on the west side of the Allegheny mountains, and in 
a few day will be the strongest fortification in the territory of the United 
States. It stands on the margin of the elevated plain on which are the 


remains of the ancient works." In the open court within the square 
which the building occupied, a well eighty feet deep was dug. The cool 
and refreshing water from this well is still a comfort and covenience to 
many families that live in the vicinity. The block-house in the southeast 
corner is still standing, forming a part of the residence of the late Judge 
Arius Nye. To the mechanical and engineering skill of General Putnam, 
and the practical knowledge of some of his associates, was due the 
thorough workmanship shown in building this fort, which was undoubt- 
edly the means of salvation to the infant colony in the Indian war which 
soon followed. 

The fourth of July, after the arrival of the colonists was celebrated with 
all " the pomp and circumstance" possible in their situation, the officers 
from Fort Harmar were invited over and a sumptuous repast was spread 
under a magnificent tree on the bank of the Muskingum. Many deer and 
countless turkeys bled freely for the occasion, and a giant fish, a pike, 
caught in the Muskingum, helped to fill the bill of fare. James Mitchell 
Varnum, one of the judges and also a director, was the orator for the 
occasion. The speech is on record, and is flowery enough to suit the 
most poetic taste. In addressing his " fair auditors," after complimenting 
them upon their courage in " exploring the Paradise of America," he says, 
"Gentle zephyrs, fanning breezes, wafting through the air ambrosial 
odors, receive you here. Hope no longer flutters on the wings of uncer- 

Governor St. Clair had not yet arrived, and there was no organized gov- 
ernment, so that every man could be a law unto himself if he chose. But 
that did not suit these law-abiding descendants of the Puritans. There- 
fore, as the closing ceremony in the celebration of Independence day, they 
drew up a code of laws, which were written out on paper and .suspended, 
not as were the ten tables of the Romans, in a temple, but on the trunk 
of a tree that stood on the bank of the river. V>y these laws they were 
governed during the little time that intervened till the arrival of the gov- 
ernor and the organization of a government. Well might General Wash- 
ington say of the pioneers: " No colony in America was ever settled 
under such favorable auspices as that which has just commenced on the 
Muskingum. Information, property and strength will be its character- 
istics. I know many of the settlers personally, and there never were men 
better calculated to promote the welfare of such a community." 

After the .stockaded fort was finished, a good timber wharf was made 


directly in front of it on the Muskingum, where tlie Mayflo-wa- was moved 
together with the smaller crafts and canoes, when not in use in going to 
and fro to Fort Harmar and "the point." Twenty-five dwellings were 
erected the same season, the greater part of them at " the point." 

Meanwhile emigrants were arriving and increasing the strength and 
courage of the settlers. General Samuel Holden Parsons came in May, 
and in the same month there arrived Captain William Dana, Major 
Jonathan Haskell, Ebenezer Battelle, Colonel Israel Putnam, Aaron 
Waldo Putnam, Major Robert Bradford, Jonathan Stone, Major Winthrop 
Sargent, Colonel John May and Colonel William Stacey. In June there 
were more arrivals. Hon. James M. Varnum came in that month, one 
of the judges of the territory, " with about forty souls in company." 
Judge Varnum was an invalid when he started. His wife could not 
accompany him. James Owen and his wife were among the "forty 
souls " that came with him. To Mr. Owen he was much indebted for the 
care that he needed while on the toilsome journey. To Miss Owen 
belongs the distinction of having been the first woman that settled on the 
Ohio company's purchase. For this reason, and in the additional one that 
she rendered humane and needed service in the cases of small-pox in the 
colony, the company gave her a deed of one of the donation lots of one 
hundred acres. 

In August more families arrived. Six families came on the nineteenth. 
They were those of General Benjamin Tupper, Colonel Ichabod Nye, son- 
in-law of the former, Major Nathaniel Gushing, Major Nathan Goodale, 
Major Asa Coburn, sr., and his son-in-law, Andrew Webster. Before the 
close of the year there were nineteen families in Marietta ; so tliat, accord- 
ing to the testimony of Colonel Ichabod Nye, "the winter began with a 
hundred or more in the settlement." 

General Arthur St. Clair, the governor of the Northwest territory, 
arrived on the ninth of July. He had received his commission as governor 
from congress October i6, 1787, but it was not to take effect until Feb- 
ruary I, 178S. As has been stated, he was president of congress when 
Dr. Cutler went to New York to make the purchase for the Ohio company. 
He had at first manifested but a lukewarm interest in the matter, but a 
change came over him when it was proposed to make him governor of the 
territory, and his warmest interest and endeavors were enlisted. His 
arrival at the new settlement was an event of importance. He was re- 
ceived with a salute of thirteen guns from Fort Harmar. After a few 


days' rest he was escorted with considerable parade to the east side of the 
Muskingum and received by General Putnam under his marquee. The 
judges of the territory and principal men of the colony were present. The 
secretary, Hon. Winthrop Sargent, read the ordinance of 1787, the gov- 
ernor's commission and his own. The ceremonies closed with congratula- 
tions to the governor and assurances of welcome. 

The government thereafter established was quite anomalous. There 
were no precedents by which to be influenced, for it was the first territorial 
government established under Federal authority. The people had no part 
nor lot in the matter. There were no elective offices. The governor and 
judges received their appointments first from congress, and after 1789, 
when the constitution was adopted, from the President. The general 
government bore a part of the expense of the territorial government, but 
by far the larger share was obtained by heavily ta.xing the people. This 
government continued in form for ten years. 

On the second day of the following September the first civil court ever 
held in the Northwest Territory was opened. A procession was formed 
near the Ohio river and the men marched up through a path cut in the 
forest to Campus Martins. First went the high sheriff with a drawn 
sword, following whom came the citizens, then came the officers from 
Fort Harmar, next the members of the bar, after them the supreme 
judges, following whom were the governor and clergymen, the newly 
appointed judges of the court of common pleas, Generals Putnam and 
Tupper bringing up the rear. The court was held in the southeast block- 
house and opened with prayer by the Rev. Dr. Cutler, to whom the colony 
was so greatly indebted. He was there on a visit and did not remain long. 
To the honor of the forty-eight men who made up the colony, it can be 
told that there was not a single case on the docket ! 

Any account of these first settlers in Ohio, that left out of view their 
efforts in behalf of religion and education, would be incomplete. The 
wise men of the east well knew that a successful commonwealth must rest 
upon the basis of morality and intelligence. They, therefore, early looked 
after and provided for the interests of religion and education. At a meet- 
ing at Ree's tavern, Providence, Rhode Island, March 5, 1787, a committee 
of the company reported : " that the directors be requested to pay early 
attention to the education of youth and the promotion of public worship 
among the settlers, etc. . . That they, if practicable, secure an instruc- 


tor, eminent in literary accomplishments and the virtue of his character, 
who shall superintend the first scholastic institutions." 

The proprietors and others of "benevolent and liberal mind," were in- 
vited to make up a fund by voluntary contribution, to carry out these res- 
olutions. In furtherance of this object, Dr. Cutler, who was appointed for 
the purpose, engaged the Rev. Daniel Story to go out to the colony. He 
was to have his board and four dollars in silver per week, for his services. 
Mr. Story was a native of Boston and a graduate of Dartmouth college. 
He reached Marietta in the spring of 1789, and preached not only in 
Marietta, but in the other settlements in rotation. There were no roads, 
and his visits were made in canoes with oarsmen provided for the occasion. 
During the Indian War a guard, well armed, acccompanied him when he 
went to fill his appointments. 

The interests of education were well looked after from the beginning. 
In the contract for the purchase of land, it was stipulated on the part of the 
purchaser, that two "complete townships should be given perpetually to the 
use of a university, to be laid off by the purchaser or purchasers as near the 
centre of the purchase as the case may be, so that the same shall be good 
land to be applied to that object by the legislature." Also the sixteenth 
section in every township was set apart for the use of schools and the 
twenty-ninth for the support of religion. The townships set apart for the 
university were located and surveyed in 1795. The act incorporating the 
institution passed the legislature in 1802. The town of Athens was laid 
out on the land thus set apart, and the college called the Ohio university. 

Dr. Cutler was greatly instrumental in establishing the college, and 
strenuous in his efforts in behalf of common schools. As a matter of fact, 
a school was opened the first year of* the settlement, and an academy 
established before a decade of years had passed away. 



The toilsome journey of the emigrants from their old to their new 
home was only a prelude to other and greater hardships. In the first 
year after their arrival, the labor of clearing and fencing their fields delayed 
the planting of their corn until June. A severe frost in October found 
the grain in an unripe state, and damaged it to such an extent as to make 
it unfit for food either for man or beast. The Indians, with wise fore- 
thought for the accomplishment of their own ends, had destroyed or 
driven off the deer and other game from a radius of twenty miles or nmrc 
from the forts on the Muskingum. The very limited supply of corn, tliat 
was brought down the Ohio from western Pennsylvania, was sold at 
rates so exorbitant as to place it beyond the reach of the greater part of 
the colonists, because of the exhausted state of their finances. The suf- 
fering that ensued was extreme. The year 1790 had a dark line across 
it, and was long known in their annals as "the starving year." The 
little children cried for bread, and cried in vain, for the hands of the sor- 
rowing mothers were empty, they had nothing to give to .satisfy the 
hunger of those whose sufferings it was so agonizing to see. Many of the 
poor would have perished had not the Ohio company come to their relief 
and by judicious loans of money enabled them to get enough food to at 
least sustain life. And in another way they were also helped. It is 
pleasant to put upon record here a fact that does honor to our human 
nature and shows the sweet humanity that dwelt in the heart of one of the 
bravest and most enterprising of the settlers that dwelt on the banks of 
the beautiful river. Isaac Williams and his wife Rebecca, emigrants from 
Pennsylvania, had settled in Virginia, opposite the mouth of the Muskin- 
gum, before the coming of the Marietta colony. His corn was planted in 
good season and he gathered an abundant harvest. The settlers were, in 
the common market, obliged to pay a dollar and a half per bushel for 
mouldy corn, which when ground in a hand-mill, the only mill they had, 


and made into mush or gruel, did not nourish those who ate it, and often 
occasioned suffering and disease. In this emergency Mr. Williams came 
to the rescue. He sold corn to those who were perishing for want of it 
for fifty cents a bushel, the minimum price in time of abundance. He let 
the very poor, who had nothing wherewith to pay, have it without money 
and without price. Ought not this that he did to be told of him while the 
world stands? He would allow each to have only a limited quantity, so 
that more could share in it. Speculators wished to buy up his whole 
stock. " No," he said, indignantly, " you shall not have a bushel." It 
would be a pleasant office to give a fuller account of this brave man and 
his equally brave wife were it meet to do so in this place. Suffice it to 
say, he was a famous hunter in his day, and both he and his wife honored 
our common humanity by their deeds of kindness and mercy done in 
behalf of the needy and suffering. 

When the spring of 1791 came on, and nature awoke at the warm touch 
of the sun, the hungry settlers gathered the tender shoots of the pigeon- 
berry and potato and boihng them with a little meal and salt, ate and found 
refreshment therein. The matrons talked over their family affairs and 
other matters, while sipping a cup of sassafras or spice-bush tea, instead of 
young hyson or fragrant bohea, without feeling disheartened by the differ- 
ence between what they had and what they remembered to have had. 

That year's crop was fine and abundant, so that plenty and comfort once 
more took up their abode in the household, and fat kine roamed the fields 
in place of the lean ones of the year before. 

But other troubles were already upon them, and greater dangers were 
lying in wait. The men of whom we write were peaceable men, just and 
upright in their dealings. They did not intend wrong even toward the 
poor Indian, whose patrimony they were indeed appropriating to their own 
use. But that had been secured by treaty and an equivalent or supposed 
equivalent returned, which, in their eyes, was all that justice required. 
But it was otherwise with the people of Kentucky, the " Long Knives " 
as they were called by the Indians. They regarded the Indians as vermin, 
that they had the right to shoot down or destroy at any time and in any 
way. These untutored sons of the forest were never slow in seeking 
revenge for injuries received, and they were not accustomed to make nice 
discriminations. The innocent were confounded with the guilty, and the 
savages were determined that all white men should suffer for the wrong- 
doing of a part. To be sure, a treaty was made with Governor St. Clair 


in January, 1789, at Fort Harmar, by which the Indians bound themselves 
to keep the peace. But this treaty was rather an insincere and hollow 
affair. The chief insisted strenuously upon the Ohio river being made the 
boundary between them and the settlements of the white man. Some 
would sign a treaty upon no other basis, and, of course, General St. Clair 
and his coadjutors could not accept such terms. The consequences were 
that a part of the chiefs signed the treaty with great reluctance, others did 
not sign at all, and none were pleased with the conditions exacted from 
them. This was well enough understood by the colonists to create uneasi- 
ness and lead them to make preparations for an outbreak on the part of 
the Indians, which they felt might come at any time. Mutterings were 
heard in the air, and threats on the part of the savages that " before the 
trees had again put forth their leaves there should not remain a single 
smoke of a white man's cabin northwest of the Ohio river." 

General Putnam, with the skill and forethought that distinguished him, 
prepared for dangers that he thought only too sure to come. The scat- 
tered families of the settlers were collected in block-houses. " Farmer's 
Castle " was built in Belpre, twelve miles below Marietta, and into that all 
who lived in the neighborhood were gathered. 

Fort Frye, twenty miles above Marietta, on the Muskingum, became 
the place of refuge for those who lived in that region. Campus Martins, 
in Marietta, was strengthened and put into a posture of defense, and an- 
other block-house was erected at "the point," as that part of the town was 
and is called, which is included between the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, 
at the mouth of the latter. The settlements at and near Marietta were 
particularly exposed to danger, for the Muskingum was the war-path of 
the Indians who lived to the northwest and occupied the region bordering 
upon it ; and the Ohio furnished equal facilities for invasion on the part 
of those who lived in the country through which it flowed. 

Complaint and lamentations were heard in every direction on account 
of depredations committed by the insidious foe. Even before hostilities 
were declared, or a state of war recognized, it was estimated that fifteen 
hundred persons had been killed or taken prisoners, two thousand horses 
stolen and a large amount of property carried away or destroyed. A 
great part of these losses was suffered by the settlers in Kentucky, but 
all that dwelt upon the western border participated in them to a greater 
or less extent. From Kentucky and Virginia, from western Pennsylvania 
and Ohio, petition followed petition to the general government, asking 


for help and protection. General Putnam wrote to General Washington 
in behalf of the colony under his care. He said, "there remains but 
twenty men in the garrison at Fort Harmar and all the men in the settle- 
ment capable of bearing arms do not exceed two hundred and eighty- 
seven and many of them are badly armed. In Marietta there are eighty 
houses in the distance of one mile, with scattering houses about three miles 
up the Ohio." He concluded his letter in these words: " Our situation is 
truly distressing and I do, therefore, most earnestly implore the protect- 
tion of government for myself and friends inhabiting the wilds of America. 
To this we consider ourselves justly entitled." In a letter of the same 
date to General Knox, secretary of war. General Putnam said: "If we 
are not to be protected the sooner we know it the better; better that we 
withdraw ourselves at once than remain to be destroyed piece-meal by the 

It is difficult to understand the supineness of the general government in 
circumstances so critical. That there was opposition on the part of some 
of the leading statesmen to securing more territory in the west, or even 
retaining that already possessed, seems to be a well authenticated fact. 
Then the whole country was heartily tired of war and longed for peace. 
And again, the general government had not yet gathered into its hands 
sufficient power to enable it to control the states and make the inhabitants 
thereof obedient to its will. But a little while before, congress was scarcely 
more than an advisory body, and it had not yet become accustomed to the 
use of authority. This apparent indifference to their welfare, worked out 
evil results among some of the western colonists, especially those of Ken- 
tucky ; and but for the steadfast loyalty and ardent patriotism of the Ohio 
colonists at Marietta and Cincinnati, the consequences might have been 
serious as affecting the unity of the country and the final triumph of the 

Among the measures adopted by General Putnam for the security of the 
colony under his care, there was, perhaps, none to which, they, to so 
great an extent, owed their comparative immunity from death and destruc- 
tion, as to the plan of employing rangers. These men were selected on 
account of their bravery and skill in reading the signs of the presence of 
Indians and tact in evading the wiles of the cunning foe. Two rangers 
were employed for each garrison, and were sent out over a daily route of 
about twenty miles. For their greater security, they dressed as Indians, 
and sometimes even painted their faces. They were constantly on the 


alert, and quick to detect even the most obscure signs of the presence of 
Indians. Of course, each man took his life in his hand when he started 
out, and was well aware that he must be sagacious anil intrepid to escape 
falling into the hands of the savages he went to seek. For this perilous 
service the government allowed each man the munificent sum of eighty- 
four cents per diem. Nor did they always escape the fate to which they 
daily exposed themselves. Captain Joseph Rogers, employed for the 
garrison at Campus Martins, was killed by the Indians when returning 
from his round of duty, when within a mile of the fort. 

An incident will, perhaps, give a more vivid idea of the state of anxiety 
and preparation in which the settlers lived than can be obtained from a 
bare statement of facts. The law regulating the militia service required 
that there should be a parade on Sabbath morning at ten o'clock. The 
troops came together at the beat of the drum, the roll was called and 
arms inspected, after which a procession was formed ; Colonel Sproat, 
with a drawn sword in his hand, took his place at the head of the column. 
The civil officers and the clergymen brought up the rear. With the 
accompanyment of fife and drum they marched to the place appointed for 
divine service. They entered and seated themselves with their arms by 
their sides, ready to be grasped at a moment's notice. 

Upon a certain Sabbath morning in the year 1790, all were gathered 
together in the house of God, prayer was offered by the pastor, the Rev. 
Daniel Story, the praise of the Lord had been sung by the whole congre- 
gation and they were listening to the word as it was expounded by the 
officiating clergyman. Suddenly a scout entered the sanctuary. The 
preacher paused. "Signs of Indians near here," said the scout hurriedly. 
Instantly the drummer caught uj) his drum and rushed out the door. He 
beat the long roll and there was a quick scattering of the congregation. 
The men at once put themselves into a posture of defense. The Indians 
did not come, but if they had they would have found a reception prepared 
for them. Truly, these men belonged to the church militant in every 
sense of the word. 

Critical as the condition of affairs was, the supineness of the general gov- 
ernment continued. It would seem either that those in authority were 
not awake to the gravity of the situation, or were not aware of the value 
of the prize that was trembling in the balance. In Kentucky and Virginia 
some of the leading men spoke openly of taking the matter of defense into 
their own hands, and hints were thrown out in regard to the desirableness 


of placing themselves under the protection of Spain. The Spanish com- 
missioners left no means untried to bring about that result. To these men 
on the western border a potential motive for desiring a connection with 
Spain was, they could then have an outlet for their surplus produce 
through the Mississippi river, which was under the control of Spain. With- 
out the navigation of this river the colonists were shut out from any 
market, unless they braved the hardships and bore the expense of packing 
across the Alleghany mountains. Their condition was certainly very 
much cribbed and confined, independent of the trouble with the Indians. 
There were no good roads to connect them with the east and open an 
accessible market in that direction ; and a country with which the United 
States was at variance, though not in actual hostility, controlled the only 
outlet to the sea west of the mountains. This state of affairs, as is well 
known, gave occasion to the " Whiskey Rebellion " in Pennsylvania. Pack 
horses were the only vehicles of transportation across the mountains. 
One pack horse could carry but four bushels of rye. But when the rye 
was made into whiskey the same beast of burden could carry the essence 
of twenty-four bushels of rye. Therefore, when the general government 
laid an excise upon ardent spirits so heavy as to absorb the profits, 
there was a general rebellion among the manufacturers and people. 
The French minister, M. Ganet, was also intriguing to secure the control 
of the west, that he might hand it over, bound hand and foot, to his gov- 
ernment. Nor were these the only nations that looked with covetous eyes 
upon this fair domain. The British government had never cordially 
acquiesced in some of the articles of the treaty of 1783. They still 
retained important forts situated within the territory ceded to the United 
States, and justified themselves in doing so by the fact that the other party 
to the treaty had not complied with all its conditions. The United States 
government had not enforced the agreement in regard to the collection of 
debts due to citizens of Great Britain. Virginia, especially, had refused 
to keep the pledge made by the commissioners. There seems to be so 
much proof that the conclusion cannot be resisted that English officers 
used all the influence they could exert to induce the Indians to persist in 
the demand that the Ohio river should be the western boundary of the 
United States, and, further, it would seem that they desired to unite the 
Indians in one great confederacy and form a British protectorate over 
them, the better to thwart, restrain and destroy the Americans. British 
authorities furnished the Indians with food, clothing and ammunition. 


They paid liberally for scalps but nothing for prisoners. They promised 
much more than they performed. To what extent the home government 
was implicated, and how much was the voluntary doing of the military 
officers and other officials in America, it is impossible to ascertain. 

The eagerness of these several contestants to secure the prize was in 
singular contrast with apparent indifference of the government to which it 
properly belonged. But a protracted war had wearied and exhausted the 
country, and, having laid down their arms, men were unwilling to take them 
again. When finally compelled to do so, it was mainly the refuse of the 
old army — those who were worthless, or nearly so, for other pursuits, that 
finally enlisted in the ranks. 

The men of the colony, whose history we are following, had no sym- 
pathy with the disloyalty of the people of Kentucky or elsewhere who 
were intriguing with foreign powers. Their hearts were true as steel to 
the government that the greater part of them had fought to establish, and 
their entreaties were earnest and incessant that the government would 
send them the help they needed in their extremity. 

Henceforth, for five years the history of the Marietta colony is merged 
in that of the war with the Indians and the three campaigns undertaken 
and accomplished before the Indians were brought to terms. The col- 
onists with their families were immured in barracks during these years. 
They could only cultivate a few fields in the immediate neighborhood of 
the block-houses, with a guard near by and weapons at hand to resist a 
sudden attack. Even then it was not an unusual thing for a man to be 
killed or captured. The Indians were always on the alert, and never lost 
an opportunity of stealing horses and cattle and carrying away children 
into captivity. 

The most earnest and persevering efforts to secure a treaty of peace 
with the Indians having failed, and depredations being continued, at last, 
when the power of endurance and patience of the colonists were well-nigh 
exhausted, the order was given to General St. Clair, governor of the 
Northwest Territory, to raise an army and use his best endeavor to subdue 
the hostile tribes and put an end to murder and devastation. 

After consulting with General Harmar, Governor St. Clair decided to 
send an expedition against the towns on the Maumee, and addressed 
letters to the military officers in western Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ken- 
tucky, calling on them for militia to cooperate with the Federal troops in 
a campaign against the Indians. General Harmar was assigned to the 


command of the expedition. He was an officer of experience and of good 
repute. Fort Washington, now Cincinnati, was made the place of rendez- 
vous. As speedily as he could. General Harmar gathered together his 
forces. From Kentucky there were three battalions of militia, one bat- 
talion of mounted riflemen and two of regulars. These added to the 
Federal troops under his command made up a force of fourteen hundred 
men. But a worse appointed, more unmilitary assemblage could not well 
be brought together. Disaffection toward the government and a repug- 
nance to acting with regular troops kept those at home who could have 
best acted their parts in this emergency, both in Kentucky and Pennsyl- 
vania. The courageous, enterprising and capable men, those who were 
accustomed to the use of the rifle both in pursuit of Indians and game, 
did not enlist. The quota from these states was made up, to a great 
extent, of old men unfit for service, and boys who were hired as substi- 
tutes and went to the war as to a frolic. 

The army was collected and ready for marching orders early in^October, 
1790. General Harmar lost no time in placing himself at the head of his 
troops and making a start. The army first halted at Chillicothe, a large 
Indian village three miles from where Xenia is now situated, and about 
forty miles from the place of their destination. Here the information 
reached them that the Indians, apprised of their coming, had forsaken 
their villages. General Harmar, however, pushed on and found as he 
expected, that the money had become an invincible foe. No Indians 
were anywhere to be seen. But to destroy their means of subsistence was 
an important part of the object for which the enterprise had been under- 
taken. Orders were, therefore, given to begin at once the work of 
destruction, and they were faithfully executed. The principal village and 
four or five smaller ones were utterly destroyed. Twenty thousand 
bushels of corn were burned and everything that had in itself value for 
food was consumed. A compassionate sigh escapes in behalf of these 
poor people, who thus had the products of their labor destroyed, and the 
food that was to sustain their women and little ones taken away from 
them. When the enemy was thus deprived of the means of support the 
principal object of the expedition was accomplished. But some of the 
officers were disappointed and dissatisfied, in that they had not had an 
actual fight with the Indians and could claim no conquest except over 
inanimate things in which there was little glory. 

General Harmar was asked to allow a detachment to return, after they 


had proceeded a day's march, to see if haply the Indians had returned to 
their villat^es and a chance might offer for a battle. General Harmar was, 
probably, not unwilling to add a few leaves to the wreath of laurel that he 
hoped would be placed on his brow on account of his success in the enter- 
prise. He gave the order and Colonel Hardin took the command of the 
detachment and went back, hoping to meet the enemy. He was not dis- 
appointed. He met the enemy and — was disastrously defeated. The 
Indians fought as brave men, who have been robbed and despoiled, would 
fight. Of the regulars the greater part were slain, both officers and men. 
The militia, according to their custom, at the first onset, threw down 
their arms and ran away, not probably that they "might live to fight 
another day " but that they might escape fighting altogether. And so, 
instead of a record of a glorious victory being entered upon the page of 
history, the expedition will be known in all time as " Harmar's Defeat." 
General Harmar requested that a court of inquiry should be called to in- 
vestigate the causes of the lamentable result and promptly resigned his 

The court exonerated the commcUider from all blame, and attributed the 
failure principally to the shameful conduct of the militia and the miserable 
equipments of the army. 

There were those who believed that had the army been commanded by 
such a man as George Rogers Clark or some other western hero, accus- 
tomed to Indian wiles and strategems and having the confidence of the men 
he commanded, the result would have been different. 

"Harmar's defeat" spread consternation along the whole western 
border, and greatly increased the perils of the colony at Marietta. The 
Indians were naturally much encouraged by the victory they had gained, 
and renewed their depredations with fresh energy and determination. No 
matter how much soever we deprecate the results, we cannot withhold our 
admiration when we see the courage and zeal with which they defended 
what they considered their rights, and the patriotism that nerved them to 
the highest endeavor to keep the graves of their fathers and their rightful 
inheritance from passing into the hands of aliens and oppressors. 

Nothing in Grecian story or Roman history surpasses the patient suf- 
fering and stern courage which these unlettered Red men laid as a sacri- 
fice upon the altar of their country. Let us not withhold the meed of 
praise which such qualities and such endeavors secure in other cases, 
because these men were savages and our own countrymen suffered from 


their heroism. To be sure their ways were crooked and their methods 
were cruel, but they only had the twilight of natural law in which to walk, 
and although those with whom they combatted have the fairer light of 
revelation to lighten their path they could not boast of greatly better 

The first severe blow that fell upon the Marietta colony was the massa- 
cre at Big Bottom on the Muskingum, thirty miles above Marietta. The 
settlers in the neighborhood had collected in a block-house built for their 
protection. But they had no experienced man at the helm, and they did 
not keep a vigilant watch. They were suddenly attacked by Indians, and 
only two' escaped. Fourteen were killed, including a woman and two 
children, and four were carried away captive. 

This alarming news reached Marietta when the court of quarter sessions 
was sitting. The court at once adjourned, for the jurors and witnesses 
felt compelled to go home and look after the welfare of their families. 
The block-houses were put into the best possible state of defense, and the 
vigilance of the guards was redoubled. The rangers were kept constantly 
on duty, and the faintest signs of Indians noticed and reported. The 
preservation of the garrison was due to this unceasing watchfulness. 

The creneral government at last woke up enough to dimly see the peril 
of these western settlements. Orders were issued to collect another and 
larger army, and General St. Clair, Governor of the Territory, was ap- 
pointed to the command. The object of the expedition he was directed 
to undertake was to be two-fold. In the first place the Indians were to be 
conquered and crushed, so that they should not be able to again lift them- 
selves up; and, secondly, a chain of forts was to be built, extending from 
Cincinnati to Lake Erie, which forts were to be so well garrisoned that 
they would be able to hold the Indians in check and prevent their preying 
upon the settlements. Where Maumee is now situated, on the Maumee 
river was considered a particularly important point. Possession of it 
was to be taken, and a strong fortification erected. General St. Clair 
be"-an to bring his troops together in May 1791. There were two hun- 
dred, exclusive of officers, in his command. In July the First regiment, 
numbering two hundred and ninety, arrived. They were all badly equip- 
ped and the military chest was empty, so that the wherewith to pay the 
man was wanting. Militia were gathered from Pennsylvania and Ken- 
tucky, and in September the army was two thousand three hundred strong. 

The army left Fort Washington, September 17, and moved on until they 


reached a point on the great Miami, where they built Fort Hamilton, the 
first of the intrenched Hne efforts. After completing the fort and garrison- 
ing it with a small body of men, they advanced forty miles, within a short 
distance of the town of Greenville, where another fort was built to which 
the name of Jefferson was given. 

There was a dark sky over the army all this while. The roads wore bad and 
so heavy that the men, with their best endeavor, could only accomplish a 
toilsome march of seven miles a day. General St. Clair was ill, sufferin-^ 
from gout and other ailments, su that it was neces.sary for him to be car- 
ried in a litter. The army was daily diminished by desertion, and many of 
the men were sick from exposure and bad food. When they left Green- 
ville there were only fourteen hundred troops fit for duty. To make 
matters worse, there wa,'- ill feeling between General St. Clair and General 
■ Butler. The second in command, the latter seemed never sorry, to say the 
least, to have his superior officer thwarted in the execution of his plans. 

The army left Fort Jefferson, October 24, and began again its heavy 
march. On November 3, a river was reached which General St. Clair sup- 
posed to be a branch of the Wabash, but which jiroved to be an affluent 
of the Maumee. There General St. Clair halted. Then hundreds of the 
militia had deserted in a body, and the First regiment had been sent 
after them to try to arrest and bring them back, and also to prevent a 
convoy of provisions from falling into their hands. On the next day, 
November 4, the army, depleted as it was, was unexpectedly attacked by 
the Indians. The militia, as they had a way of doing, ran without firing a 
gun, and as they were in the van, their flight through the ranks tended 
to increase the panic occasioned hy the sudden attack. The regulars 
fought well, as they generally did, but it was in vain, and they, too, finally 
gave way and took to flight, nor did they halt till they reached Fort 

No defeat so disastrous had ever been suffered in the west, and nothing 
except that of Braddock's can be likened to it. The proportion of the 
slain to the numbers engaged was even greater than in that well-known 
disaster. In Braddock's army there were twelve hundred and eighty-six. 
Of these seven hundred and four men and sixty-tliree officers were killed 
or wounded; while in this most disastrous defeat of St. Clair, out of four- 
teen hundred men and eighty-six officers, eight hundred and ninety men 
and sixteen officers were killed or wounded. Estimates in regard to the 
number of Indians engaged in the attack vary greatly, but the most 


authentic accounts lead to the conclusion that they did not exceed twelve 

No words can describe the consternation and alarm that spread through 
the colonies. It was well understood that the Indians, encouraged and 
emboldened by their success, would venture more and succeed better in 
their murderous designs. The colony at Marietta was particularly exposed. 
The garrison at Fort Harmar had been depleted in order to fill the ranks 
of the army, until there was scarcely enough men left to stand guard. 

Urgent appeals were again made to the general government, and earnest 
entreaties for help were heard from all the western border. And now a 
listening ear was turned toward the sufferers. At last it began to be per- 
ceived that this was a national and not a mere sectional war, and, further, 
it was seen that dallying would no longer answer. An earnest effort 
must be put forth or disaffection, disunion and great disaster, one or all, 
would be the result. President Washington selected General Anthony 
Wayne for the commander of a new expedition. He had performed the 
most brilliant feat of the War of the Revolution — the taking of Stony 
Point — and such was his reputation for courage, for skill and dash, that it 
was thought if success was possible " Mad Anthony " would be sure to 
secure it. 

Fort Washington was again made the place of rendezvous, and General 
Wayne began at once to collect and discipline his army. Meanwhile 
General St. Clair had resigned his command and asked for a court-martial 
to inquire into the causes of his defeat. President Washington accepted 
his resignation but did not accede to the other request. Subsequently, 
however, congress appointed a committee to examine the matter and 
make a report. Their report is long and goes very much into detail. In 
substance it declares that the defeat was caused by the want of discipline 
and experience of the troops, the cowardly behavior of the militia, the 
delay in furnishing material, and consequent lateness of the season when 
the expedition was initiated. General St. Clair was exonerated from all 

While General Wayne was subjecting his troops to severe discipline 
in Fort Washington, the government was zealously endeavoring to 
secure a treaty of peace without further recourse to the ordeal of battle. 
Five different embassies were sent simultaneously to different tribes. Scant 
success attended the negotiations. In one case the two peace messengers 
were murdered. 


The British still held forts within the territory of the United States, in 
violation of the treaty of 1783, andeit was well known that they encouraged 
and assisted the Indians in their warfare. The prospect was that the dis- 
satisfaction that existed in both the parties concerned was almost sure to 
culminate in the breaking out of another war between Great Britain and 
the United States. 

The Indians continued resolutely to refuse to listen to any conditions 
of peace, unless the Ohio river was accepted as a boundary between them 
and the United States. Backed as they were in this by the British author- 
ities, they continued inflexible. The most that could be obtained from 
them was an armistice, and that was but poorly observed by the Indians, 
who complained that the desire for peace was rather simulated than felt, as 
was proved by the fact that General Wayne was all the time making 
strenuous efforts to get his army into fighting order. 

In 1792, a fresh effort was made in the same direction, and General 
Rufus Putnam accompanied by Rev. John Heckewelder as interpreter and 
aid, went to Cincinnati, according to appointment, to meet the Indian 
chiefs and, if possible, negotiate a treaty. The chiefs failing to meet the 
commissioners there, the latter went on to Vincennes. Success attended 
their efforts, so far as the Wabash tribes were concerned. A treaty of 
peace was made with them. But the Shawanees and Miamis were still too 
much elated by their victory over St. Clair to be induced to enter into 
treaty relations ; they were, however, persuaded to send a delegation to 
Philadelphia to hold a conference with the President. Fourteen chiefs 
started on the mission. They stopped at Marietta, and a sumptuous feast 
was prepared for them and every attention shown them that the anxious 
people had it in their power to bestow. 

Meanwhile, notwithstanding the disadvantages under which they labored 
the colonists were progressing in the means of securing those appliances 
that go to make up the amenities of life. Their corn was taken to Cincin- 
nati and sold, for the use of the army, at forty cents a bushel, which was a 
great improvement upon any market they had previously had. In the 
summer of 1794, a line of mail boats was established which opened certain 
and regular communication with the remainder of the world. The boats 
carried a guard of armed men and went up the stream at the rate of thirty 
miles /f^&w, and accomplished double that distance in going down with 
the current. Between Wheeling and Cincinnati there were three stations, 
where the boats stopped to exchange mails. Marietta, Galliopolis and 


Limestone, now Maysville. Six days were occupied in going from Wheel- 
ing to Cincinnati, and twelve required for the reverse journey. This ar- 
rangement continued until 1798. The boats sometimes carried passengers, 
and so well were they equipped and guarded that only one boat was at- 
tacked and but one man killed. 

All efforts to secure a peace having failed, in the autumn of 1793 Gen- 
eral Wayne put his army in motion, and in December reached Greenville, 
in the western part of Ohio, ten miles from the Indiana line. There he 
remained till July of the following year, when he left to take up the line 
of march for the Maumee rapids, where the flourishing town of Maumee 
is now situated. 

During these many months the army had been under strict discipline, and 
everything had been done to make it as efficient as possible. The result 
showed the wisdom of the preparation. The battle of "The Fallen 
Timbers" was fought at that place August 20, 1794, and "Wayne's 
Victory " was the result. The victory was decisive, though the Indians 
fought with great bravery. The loss to General Wayne's army was com- 
paratively small. Thirty-three privates and five officers were killed, and 
one hundred men and five officers wounded. The number of Indians 
engaged in the fight was supposed to be about two thousand. 

General Wayne remained three days and nights on the banks of the 
Maumee in front of the battle-field, and so near to Fort Miami, held by 
the British, that they could easily be reached by the guns. The com. 
mandant, General Campbell, addressed a note to General Wayne asking 
what his intentions were in making so near an approach to a garrison 
occupied by the troops of the king of England. 

Mutual bravadoes were exchanged between the two generals without 
any concessions being made on either side. General Wayne says he 
"burned everything in view of the fort and under the muzzles of the 

After building Fort Wayne, the army in October, marched to Fort 
Greenville, where General Wayne reestablished his headquarters. 

The importance of the victory gained at the P'allen Timbers can scarcely 
be over-estimated. Hostilities ceased thereafter, but on account of the 
machinations of the British officers, several months passed before a treaty 
of peace could be agreed upon. Although negotiations were at once begun, 
it was not till September of the succeeding year, 1795, that the compact 
was sealed. Besides the great victory of General Wayne, there were one 


or two circumstances that helped in securing the treaty. The Indians had 
never fully recovered the confidence in the British which had been for- 
feited by the non-fulfillment of the promises made to them before and 
during the War of the Revolution. They had been assured by the British 
authorities, that if they united with them in the effort to subjugate the 
colonies, they should be fully remunerated for their efforts and all losses 
made good. Their interest should also be carefully guarded in case of a 
treaty of peace being made between the belligerents. But none of these 
promises were kept. They were not even mentioned in the treaty of 1783. 
And in the war, which had ended so disastrously for them, there had been 
very much more promised than had been performed. Their natural 
shrewdness led them to see that it was better to make terms with those 
actually in power, than to trust again those who had repeatedly deceived 
them. The treaty of Greenville was finally arranged on the basis of an 
exchange of prisoners, and the settlement of certain boundaries. 

This was the end of inroads and depredations on the part of the Indians, 
and thenceforth the colonists enjoyed the opportunity of cultivating the 
amenities of peace and devoting themselves to the furtherance of tlieir own 
prosperity in every direction. 

In 1794 John Jay, envoy extraordinarj^ to the court of St. James, suc- 
ceeded in adjusting the difficulties that had existed for half a score of years 
between Great Britain and the United States, and which had seemed at 
times almost certain to culminate in a war between the two countries. 
The cloud at length passed over, and all fear of evil from any such source 
had, for the present at least, vanished. The colonists could come out 
from the block-houses in which they had for so long been shut up, and 
go to their farms or their merchandise at their pleasure. 

One of the conditions of the ordinance of 1787 was that the Northwest 
Territory should be entitled to a legislature when the population num- 
bered five thousand. So much did the Indian war retard the growth of 
the settlements that that number was not reached till 1799. During these 
eleven years the colonists had no voice in the government; they were not 
represented in congress, and were powerless in the hands of those who 
ruled over them. 

The territory passed from the first to the second grade of territorial 
government in 1799, when the first legislature met in Cincinnati in Febru- 
ary. The Marietta colony was represented by Paul Fearing and Return 
Jonatlian Meigs. William Henry Harrison was chosen by the legislature 


to represent the territory in congress. The succeeding year, by order of 
congress, Chillicothe became the seat of government, and continued to be 
till after Ohio became a state. 

The sessions of the legislature in 1800 and 1801 were held in a small 
house built of hewn logs, thirty-six by twenty-four feet. A wing was 
afterwards attached, also of hewn logs, twenty-four by eighteen feet. 
The house was torn down in 1840. 

The large building called the " Old State House " was begun in 1801. It 
was the first public edifice built of stone in the Northwest Territory. The 
convention that framed the constitution of Ohio sat in that house. 
The session began on the first Monday of November, 1802, and so expe- 
ditious were the workers in those old times that the constitution was 
completed and they adjourned at the end of the month. 

The delegation from Marietta were unanimously opposed to the forma- 
tion of a state government at that time, as were their constituents almost 
to a unit. The prominent men were Federalists of the staunchest kind. 
The Democratic ideas of the Jeffersonian administration found little power 
with them. But they were not men to be governed by prejudice in their 
opinions and action. The Indian never had been a heavy drain upon 
their resources. The expenses of a territorial government were in great 
part paid by the general government, but if they became a state, they 
must take the burden upon themselves, and that, as congress lands were 
exempt from taxation for five years, under the disadvantage of having to 
pay more than 2. pro rata of the taxes. So great was the opposition, they 
were even willing to abridge the boundaries of the state and take the 
Scioto instead of the Miami for the western boundary, but they were 
outvoted and overruled. 

The question when Ohio became a state has been often discussed, and 
seems to admit of divers answers. The generally accepted date has been 
1802, which there seem to be good reasons to accept as correct. The in- 
habitants undoubtedly believed themselves to be living in a state at that 
time. A pioneer well known to the writer, no one was better known, 
always asserted that he came to Ohio the year that it was admitted into 
the Union, 1802. The two events have been fastened together, indissol- 
ubly, as having both occurred in that year. But to make the argument 
cumulative, the Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris shall be called as a witness. 
He made a " tour " in 1803, and stayed some time in Marietta. He states 
that the facts that he put on record were obtained in great part from Gen- 


eral Rufus Putnam. A chapter is headed " Ohio Admitted into the Union, 
by an Act of Congress, April 28, 1802." 

That is the date of the passage of the enabling act, or rather the time 
when the President affixed his signature to the bill. The preamble to the 
bill says : 

An act to enable the people of the eastern division of the territory nortliwest of the river Ohio, to form 
a constitution and state government, and/?;- the adminion o/sinh s/ii/e into the Union on an equal foot- 
ing with the original states, and for other purposes. 

Section i. Be it enacted by the senate and house of representatives of the United States of America 
in congress assembled, That the inhabitants of the eastern division of the territory northwest of the 
river Ohio, be, and they are hereby authorized to form for jthemselves a constitution and state govern- 
ment, and to assume such name as they shall deem proper ; and said state, when formed, shall be .ad- 
mitted into the Union upon the same footing with the original states in all respects whatever. 

It would seem to have been the intent and purpose of this act of con- 
gress to regard Ohio as in the Union, when the prescribed conditions 
were complied with, that is, when a constitution was formed and adopted 
and a name taken. The fact that this was the understanding is proved by 
another fact, viz., that congress took no other action in regard to the ad- 
mission of Ohio as a state. In 1803 a district court was established by 
congress in Ohio, and there are those who date its beginning as a state 
from that event. 

The legislature continued to meet in Chillicothe until 1810, when tlie 
capital was removed to Zancsville. 

As we are all the while getting farther and farther from the heroic re- 
gion, western history and the facts connected therewith becoming 
more and more dim, it seems well to put on record statements in regard 
to the hardships and privations of those who went before to prepare for 
us the pleasant ways in which we walk, to make possible our comfortable 
homes with their appliances and adornings, which give to life its zest and 
make us glad to enter into the inheritance that the Fathers have prepared 
for us. 

We have already so far outgrown those early environments, that ac- 
counts thereof seem more like fiction than a simple statement of facts. 
Did a century ever work such miracles before in all the appointments of 
people? Probably not. For never did any other century have steam and 
telegraphs and railroads and coal and oil and other appliances, by which 
natural forces have been developed and strengthened and put in harness 
for the benefit and advancement of — imperial man. 

A few statements have been gathered together from different sources. 


but all reliable, to show what manner of men the fathers were and what 
they did and endured, and how they lived. 

John S. Williams, editor of the Afucricau Pioneer \\\ 1843, gave the fol- 
lowing account of his early experience. There was probably nothing ex- 
ceptional in his condition — many others could a similar tale unravel, and 
some could tell of greater hardships. " He says, "Our family consisted 
of my mother, a sister of twenty-two, a brother near twenty-one, very 
weakly, and myself in my eleventh year." His father had been the pos- 
sessor of wealth, but having met with losses he left England, after gather- 
ing together the fragments of his property, and emigrated to Carolina, 
where he died. Other losses reduced their property still further, and 
finally the widow decided to come with her children to Ohio. They set- 
tled in Belmont county, less than a hundred miles from Marietta in a 
northeasterly direction. Mr. Williams' sketch is entitled " Our Cabin, 
or Life in the Woods." He goes on to say : 

Emigrants poured in from different parts, cabins were put up in every direction, and women, 
children and goods tumbled into them. The tide of emigration flowed Uke water through a null dam. 
Everything was bustle .ind confusion, and all at work that could work. In the midst of all this the 
mumps and perhaps one or two other diseases prevailed and gave us a seasoning. Our cabin had been 
raised, covered, parts of the cracks chinked and part of the floor laid when we moffid in on Christmas 
day ! There had not been a stick cut except in building the cabin. We had intended an inside chimney, 
for we thought the chimney ought to be in the house. Here was a great change for my mother and 
sister, as well as the rest, but particularly my mother. She was raised in the most delicate manner in 
and near London, and lived most of her time in affluence and always in comfort. She was now in the 
wilderness, surrounded by wild beasts, in a cabin with about half a floor, no door, no ceiling overhead, 
not even a tolerable sign for a fire-place, the light of day and the chilling winds of night passing between 
two logs in the building. Such was the situation on Thursday and Thursday night, December 25, 1800, 
and which was bettered by very slow degrees. We got the rest of the floor laid in a very few days, the 
chinking of the cracks went on slowly, but the daubing could not proceed till more suitable weather ; 
doorways were sawed out, and steps made of the logs, and the back of the chimney was raised up to the 
mantel, but the funnel of sticks and clay was delayed until spring. 

In building our cabin it was set to front the north and south, my brother using my father's pocket 
compass on the occasion. We had no idea of hving in a house that did not stand square with the earth 
itself. This argued our ignorance of the comforts and conveniences of pioneer life. The position of the 
house, end to the hill, necessarily elevated the lower end, and the determination to have both a north 
and south door, added much to the airiness of the domicile, particularly after the green ash functions 
had shrunk so as to have cracks in the door and floor from one to two inches wide. At both the doors 
we had high, unsteady steps, made by piling up the logs cut out of the wall. A window was made by 
sawing out a log, placing sticks across, and then by fastening an old newspaper over the hole and apply- 
ing some old hog's lard, we had a kind of glazing which shed a most beautiful and mellow light 
across the cabin when the sun shone on it. All other light entered at the doors, cracks and 

Our cabin was twenty-four feet by eighteen. The west end was occupied by two beds, the centre Of 
each side by a door, and here our symmetry had to stop, for on the opposite side of the window, made 
by clapboards, supported by pins driven into the logs, were our shelves. Upon these shelves my sister 
displayed in ample order a host of pewter plates, basins, and dishes and spoons, scoured bright. A 


ladder of five rounds occupied the corner near the window. By this, when we got a floor above, we 
could ascend. Our chimney occupied the most of the east end ; pots and kettles opposite the window 
under the shelves, a gun on hooks over the north door, four split-bottom chairs, three three-legged 
stools, and a small eight by ten looking-glass sloped from the wall over a large towel and combcase. 

The evenings of the first winter did not pass oflf as pleasantly as evenings afterwards. We had raised 
no tobacco to stem and twist, no corn to shell, no turnips to scrape, we had no tow to spin into rope 
yarn, nor straw to plait for hats, and we had come so late we could get but few walnuts to crack. We 
had, however, the Bible, ' George Fo.^'s J ournal, ' and ' Barkley's Apology. ' To our stock of books was 
soon afterward added a borrowed copy of the ' Pilgrim's Progress,' which we read twice through without 
stopping. The first winter our living was truly scanty and hard. We had a part of a barrel of flour 
wliich we had brought from Fredericktown. Besides this we had a part of a jar of hog's lard, brought 
from old Carolina. Of that flour, shortened with that lard, my sister every Sunday morning, and at no 
other time, made short biscuit for breakfast. She luade them out one. by one, placed them in neat ju.xta- 
position in a skillet or spider, pricked with a fork to prevent blistering, and baked them before an open 
fire. . . To get grinding done was a great difficulty, by reason of the scarcity of mills, the freezes in 
winter and the drouths in summer. We had often to manufacture meal (when we had corn) in any way 
we could get the corn to pieces. We soaked and pounded it, we shaved it, we planed it, and at the 
proper season we grated it. When one of our neighbors got a hand-mill it was thought quite an acqui- 
sition to the neighborhood. In after years when we could get grinding done by waiting not more than 
one night and day at a horse-mill we thought ourselves fortunate. Salt was five dollars per bushel and 
we used none in our own bread, which we soon liked as well without it. . . We had no candles, and 
cared but little about them except for summer use. In Carolina we had the real fat lightwood, not 
merely pine knots, but the fat straight pine. In the west we had not this, but my business was to 
ramble the woods every evening for seasoned sticks, or the bark of the shelly hickory for lights. 'Tis 
true that our light was not as good as even candles, but we got along without fretting, fur we depended 
more upon the goodness of our eyes than we did of the brilliancy of our light. 

It is interesting to know how those who lived before us dressed, as well 
as in what kind of houses they lived and what they ate. In the Amcricati 
Pioneer for 1842, Mr. Felix Reiiick of Chillicotiie gives the following 
graphic account of the manner in which the men were habited in those early 
days : 

The pioneer's dress consisted principally of a low linen shirt and pantaloons, manufaelured by their 
wives, daughters and female friends. The remainder was nearly all of buckskin, killed with their guns 
and chased by their own hands. Their moccasins fitted the foot neatly, and dry oak leaves mostly sup- 
plied the place of socks or stockings. Above these were a pair of buckskin leggings, or gaiters, niade 
to fit the leg and tie in at the ankle with the moccasins. These extended some distance above the knees, 
and a strap from the upper part e.\tending up and buttoning to the hip the pantaloons. These leggings 
were a defense against rattlesnakes, briar nettles, etc. In cutting tiiese leggings or gaiters there was a 
surplus left on the outside at the outer seam. This surplus was left from one to two inches in width, 
which, after the seam was sewed, was cut into an ornamental fringe. The hunting shirt comes next. It, 
too, was of dressed buckskin, and in the same way ornamented with a fringe above the outside of the 
arm, around the cape, collar, belt and tail, and sometimes down the seams under the arms or even other 
parts. . • Habited in this manner the pioneers, or frontier settlers, thought themselves quite suffi- 
ciently equipped to attend church, go to a wedding, quilting, or visit their sweethearts, or even get mar- 
ried ; and under such circumstances, a new hunting shirt, leggings and moccasins had charms to draw 
forth the loving looks and the sweet smiles of the lassies. Men who have been reared in this manner, 
and the mothers of whose children were wooed and wedded in this way, I have known afterwards to oc- 
cupy some of the highest stations in the gift of their fellow-citizens. 

Later, when deer grew scarce and women and sheep more plentiful, for 


hunting-shirts, buckskin was exchanged for h"nsey-woolseys — which was 
carded and spun and woven by the wife and daughters, who were also 
clothed in material of their own manufacture. They made linsey-woolsey 
dresses for common wear, and nice flannel, woven in plaids for Sun- 
day and holiday occasions. The moccasin also gave place to solid 
boots and shoes. In the autumn, a shoemaker, with his awls and his 
lasts, went the rounds of the farm houses and fitted out each member 
of the household with shoes for the winter. For the men also there was 
flannel woven, which, with the help of the fuller's art, was converted into 
broadcloth. The tailor followed the shoemaker, and out of the cloth, 
so carefully and laboriously prepared, made Sunday-go-to-meeting coats for 
those who had attained sufficient dignity to be worthy of such honor. 

In the long list of trials and deprivations that fell to the lot of the pio- 
neers, the scarcity and high price of salt was not one of the least. When 
it had to be brought over the mountains on mules or pack horses, it would 
not be sold for less than eight dollars per bushel. Funds were low and 
purses were light, and yet it was hard not to have the savor of salt in their 
food. It \vas, therefore, cause for rejoicing when "the old Scioto salt 
works" were discovered and made available. These were on Salt creek, 
an affluent of the Scioto, in what is now Jackson county. 

The water was not strongly impregnated with salt, and it required fif- 
teen or twenty gallons of water to make a pound of salt. The Indians 
had long known the properties of the water, and had been accustomed to 
get their supply of salt here, but to white people the fact was not revealed 
until 1798. The labor of making the salt was great, and it had to be 
transported on pack horses, so that as late as 1808 it brought four dollars 
per bushel. But, as in many cases it could be procured by labor, and 
there was so much more of that in the market than there was money, 
it brought great relief. These works were thought to be so important 
that when Ohio became a state, congress set apart a tract six miles 
square, including the saline for the use of the state. 

In 1 81 7, the manufacture of salt was begun on the Muskingum, below 
Zanesville, and in time extended down the river to McConnellsville. The 
water was so strong in some of the mills that only a gallon of water was 
required to make a pound of salt. 

In these days of rapid transit, when space is almost annihilated, it will, 
perhaps, make us more appreciative of our privileges, if we are reminded 
of the difficulties and sufferings, which they encountered who were here to 


make ready for us. The journey from Cincinnati to Marietta can now be 
accomplished in a few hours with ease and comfort* 

In the fail of the year of 1794, after the defeat of the Indians by General 
Wayne, Messrs. Elliot and Williams, two of the contractors for supplying 
the army with provisions, bargained with Messrs. C. Green and R. J. 
Meigs, jr., who then kept a retail store in Marietta, for two boat loads of 
iron, to be delivered by them at Fort Washington or Cincinnati. 

The boats were built at Waterford during the summer, and one of them 
was loaded at that place and the other at Marietta ; both with the produce 
of the labor of the industrious and brave men who had cultivated their 
fields amidst the dangers of the Indian war, and raised not only enouHi for 
their own support, but a considerable surplus for transportation. These 
boats, when loaded, were put under the charge of Matthew Gallant and 
five other men, being three to each boat. They left Marietta in October, 
but, owing to the low stage of water at that season of the year, their pro- 
gress was slow, and the boats grounded on the bar at the head of Belville 
Island, about forty miles below Marietta, and five miles below the settle- 
ment and garrison of Belville. While lying here, Gallant and his men 
spent their time in hunting and in visiting the settlers at Belville, whom 
they assisted in husking their corn ; and before they again got afloat, 
which was two weeks after they grounded, they had become quite famil- 
iarly acquainted with the hardy borderers of that place. 

As they floated along past " Graham's Station," about forty miles below, 
they were not a little startled at hearing the groans and seeing the bleeding 
bodies of one or two wounded men, whom they were landing from the 
mail packet, that had been fired into by the Indians, as it was ascending 
the river a few miles below. The mails between Pittsburgh and Cincin- 
nati had been carried by water ever since the war began ; but until now 
they had escaped without any serious injury. 

It was late in November when Gallant with his two boats reached Fort 
Washington. Here the men found employment at high wages in working 
for the contractors, and remained through the winter till the fore part of 
February. As they all lived in the vicinity of Marietta, they concluded to 
make the upward voyage in company. They bought a canoe and put on 
board such provision as they needed, with an axe and a stout iron pot for 
cooking their food. It was the only route by which they could return, as 
the Indians still continued their depredations, notwithstanding the success 

* ' Trials of the Early Pioneers,' by Dr. P. P. Hildreth. 


of General Wayne. It was hazardous traveling in any way, but the least 
by water. From recent rains the river was quite high, and their progress 
slow, averaging only from ten to twelve miles a day. No one can imagine, 
unless he has tried it, the labor of paddling a canoe against a strong 
current around the fallen tree tops which stretched out four or five rods 
from the shore and caused a rush of water like that of a mill race. It also 
required not a little experience and caution in this kind of navigation to 
avoid the upsetting of the canoe in making the sudden turn round the top 
or that of losing the headway of the boat and falling back again to the 
point from which they started in making the attempt. Not unfrequently 
more than one attempt was made before the difficulty was surmounted. 
At night they encamped on the Kentucky or Virginia shore, sleeping on 
their blankets in the open air before a large fire. In this manner they 
labored along through many a weary day, sometimes almost ready to 
give up in despair, but were encouraged to proceed by the cheerful air 
and lively songs of Matthew Gallant, whose indomitable courage and per- 
severance nothing could cast down or overcome. 

The day before they reached Graham's station the ice began to run in 
the river so as greatly to impede their progress. Previous to this the 
weather had been mild ; they, however, succeeded in reaching the 
station, by which time the ice was so thick that further progress by water 
was hopeless. Here they called a halt and held a council of war, at which 
it was decided to leave the canoe and travel by land on the Virginia shore 
to Belville, distant about forty miles, and from thence to Marietta. At 
Graham's Station was a blockhouse and stockade, with two or three 
families, and was the only inhabited spot between the mouth of the Big 
Kanawha and Belville. Their stock of food from Cincinnati was now 
exhausted, and they would get only a scanty suppl}- at this place ; but as 
they thought the journey would be accomplished in two or three days, 
they did not need much. One baron ham with a little bread, in addition 
to what game they could kill on the way, they supposed would be an 
ample supply. For this purpose they had one rifle gun and an old 
mu.sket, owned by Gallant, with a good stock of ammunition. They had 
also an axe for felling trees across the smaller streams and for cutting up 
old dry logs into pieces for rafts to cross the large creeks, and a light 
tomahawk. The party consisted of Matthew Gallant, aged about forty- 
five ; Daniel Convers, a young man of twenty ; Sylvanus Olney, about 
five and twenty ; Starks, a young man in the prime of life ; Gardner, past 


middle age, and one otlier whose name is forgotten. Each man folded 
his blanket in the form of a knapsack, in which was placed his clothinrr, 
and from thirty to forty dollars in silver, the avails of their labor while in 
Cincinnati. The rest of the baggage was divided as equally as could be 
conveniently done amongst them. Gallant, in addition to his other bag- 
gage, had about three hundred dollars in silver, a part of which beloncred 
to his employes, that he carried in a tin box inside his blanket, and a 
stout old musket. As the}- were about to start the question arose, what 
should they do with their cooking pot ? The general voice was for leaving 
it with the canoe, as they could cook their meat well enough by the camp 
fire for the short time they should be out before reaching Belville. Hut 
Gallant insisted upon taking it along, saying, the old pot which had fur- 
nished him so many good meals should not be deserted, so by the help 
of a stout leather-wood thong he strapped it to his back on the top of his 
blanket, making in all a load of not less than fifty or sixty pounds. The 
night before they left the station it rained very hard, and the following 
day it snowed, rendering the traveling deep and laborious. They 
advanced but a few miles the first day, and camped for the night. Before 
morning the wind changed to the north and the ground was suddenly 
frozen, heaving up the loose, porous soil of the bottoms into a kind of 
honeycomb texture that gave way under their tread, while at the same 
time the sharp edges of the crystaline structure cut away the leather of 
their shoes and moccasins so rapidly that in a few hours it wounded their 

On the second day, at night, the small stock of food they had with them 
was exhausted, and the man who carried the rifle gun and ammunition was 
so careless as to lose the bullet-pouch and lead in the course of the day, 
so that what powder they had was of little use to them. Thinking, how- 
ever, that they might make some bullets out of the pewter buttons on 
their clothes, they cut them off and melted them up, casting a few balls 
for their rifle. This gun carried about one hundred and twenty to the 
pound, and when they came to try their effect upon the turkeys, it was 
found they were too light, and that they would not kill anything at the 
ordinary distance, while the noise of the frozen snow-crust prevented 
their getting near to the game. Cut off from their resource, their only 
chance now from actual starvation was to hurry along as fast as they could 
to Belville. 

The third day they reached Mill creek, which was the largest water 


course they had to cross. Here Starks, their axeman, felled a tall, slender 
tree across and made the attempt to go over first. But, as misfortune 
seldom comes single, when he reached the middle of the stream his weight 
bent the tree into the water so deep that the current swept him under, and 
in his struggle to save himself from drowning, by clinging to the branches, 
the axe dropped from his hand and was lost. By great exertions he, how- 
ever, saved himself and got over. No one dared to make the attempt to 
follow, and, as the axe was lost and no stouter tree could be cut, they had 
to travel up the stream for a long distance till they could ford it with 
safety. The weather was so cold that their clothes were frozen directly 
after, and they had to move as briskly as possible to keep from freezing 
themselves. That night they had great difficulty in protecting their limbs 
from the effects of the cold. The snow and frozen leaves-had first to be 
scraped away before they could start a fire ; and this was accomplished 
with no little trouble, as they had not the advantage of modern lucifer 
matches by which a fire may be kindled with ease at any time, but their 
fire was obtained with flint and the back of an old jack knife, struck on to a 
piece of punk or rotten wood, and kindled with dry leaves and sticks picked 
out from some hollow tree or under a log. When the fire was finally got 
under way, after much blowing and many painful efforts, they gathered a 
parcel of brush or small bushes on which to spread their blankets to keep 
them from the frozen ground. Having nothing but the little tomahawk 
to cut their wood, their chief dependence for fuel was on the broken 
chunks of branches that lay scattered about in the snow. The scanty 
supply was nearly exhausted before morning, and the latter part of the 
night was passed very uncomfortably from the effects of the cold on their 
poorly protected bodies. Besides, they were so greatly fatigued with the 
day's march that they had no heart to spend much time in looking for fuel. 
The progress thus far had been very slow, they not having approached 
any nearer Bellevile by the fourth day at night than they had expected to 
have been on the second day at noon. From the hilly formation of the 
country they were traversing, being a portion of what is now Jackson 
county, Virginia, the creeks and small streams of water were very numer- 
ous. Such as were of any size they were obliged to " head," as it is called 
in backwoods phrase, or travel up on the lower side until they approached 
so near to the head as to be able to ford them without getting very deep 
into the water. From this cause they sometimes lodged at night in sight 


of the camp fire they had left in the morning, traveUng hard all day to 
gain a distance of less than a mile. 

By the fifth day they began, especially the more feeble ones, to feel the 
effects of a want of food, having been three days without anything but a 
few fragments of bread or scraps of meat. They were often tantalized 
with the sight of game, which was plenty, both deer and turkeys, but 
their want of ammunition prevented their profiting by it. As they trav- 
eled slowly along, with the hardy old Matthew at their head, leading the 
way with the dinner pot gallantly mounted on his shoulders, a beacon by 
which to steer, he would occasionally break out into one of his old revolu- 
tionary snatches, and sing a stave or two at the top of his voice ; then 
gradually fall off into a low whistle, and finally encourage them with some 
old proverb, and the hope of better times in a day or two. 

As they journeyed painfully along. Gallant directed his men to keep a 
lookout at every old rotten tree for bits of punk and dry fragments that 
would ignite readily from the spark of the flint, with which to kindle the 
fire at night. These they tucked into their blankets or bosoms of their 
hunting shirts, and took with them, as it was generally evening before they 
encamped for the night, and too dark to look for such materials. By these 
precautions, and an unceasing flow of spirits, he was undoubtedly the 
means of preserving the lives of several of the party, who without him 
would have flagged and given up in despair. He told them he had often 
been in the same or a worse predicament before, and could go a week 
without food, and so could any other man if he would only think so. 

About the sixth day they traveled later at night than usual, and it was 
quite dark when they began to prepare for the camp fire. In the attempt 
to strike the life-giving spark from the flint it dropped from his hands 
amongst the leaves and snow. Gallant bid them all stand still, and not 
move a foot till it was found, lest they should trample it in the earth 
After a fruitless search of ten minutes, some of them began to utter fears 
of despair, saying they were now certainly lost, as they should freeze to 
death before morning. He told them not to fret, for he would recover it 
if he had to find it by picking up a single leaf at a time. It was truly a 
fearful moment, for it was their only flint, and their sole dependence for a 
fire and for life rested on this poor little bit of stone. At length it was 
found, and a more lucky collision brought forth the kindling spark and 
soon a cheerful blaze dispelled the more immediate fears of perishing. 

Every night before going to bed Gallant would step out a few rods from 


the camp and hide his tin box of dollars under some log or at the foot of 
a tree, saying that if they were attacked by Indians they would not have 
the pleasure of pocketing his money. At night he sometimes made a sup- 
per of spice bush, chewing the twigs and swallowing the juice, saying that 
it was better than nothing. 

As the river still continued full of ice and there was no prospect of 
relief from boats, as they could not run, they concluded to leave the bot- 
tom grounds, on which they had hitherto traveled, and take to the ridges, 
as by this course they would avoid the annoyance of the creeks. After 
trying it for half a day, the project was abandoned, as no one of them was 
acquainted with the country, and they might get lost; whereas, by keeping 
in sight of the river, there was no danger of this calamity. 

About daylight on the seventh night they were alarmed by the sound 
of footsteps on the frozen snow approaching their camp. The more timid 
were certain it was Indians, and old Mr. Gardner was sure they should be 
killed and scalped. Gallant was quite vexed at his disturbance and being 
waked from a sound sleep, and told him he was an old fool and to lie still ; 
as for himself, he said he would as soon be scalped as not. Others consoled 
themselves with the thought that if they were taken by the Indians, they 
would get some food, and it was better to run that risk than to be certainly 
starved to death, as the prospect now was that they should soon be. The 
alarm proved finally to have been made by the steps of a bear or deer, and 
they rested unharmed till morning. 

By the eighth day the strength of most of the party was exhausted, with 
the exception of Gallant and Convers. The former did not seem to mind 
the want of food any more than an ordinary man would who had been 
without eating for a single day. Daniel Convers also bore the privation 
with great spirit and all the hardihood of an Indian ; he had been prisoner 
with the savages when only sixteen years old, and had then been a full 
week without eating ; he^was now several years older and better able to bear 
privation. The situation of the party was truly deplorable. Nearly all of 
them had frozen their feet more or less badly, their shoes and moccasins 
were all cut through by the frozen ground, and their feet lacerated and 
bloody. One of their number, whose name is forgotten, had with him a 
pair of shoes besides his moccasins ; these he put on over the latter, thinking 
to keep his feet very warm ; but this man was more frozen than any of 
the others. He was a faint-hearted, cowardly creature, which, probably, 
served still more to enfeeble him, and aid the action of frost on his 


extremities. The starving condition of the men served greatly to aid the 
depressing effects of the cold on their enfeebled bodies. Had the weather 
been warm, the}- would have borne the privation of food better. It has 
been recently ascertained by Liebig, a celebrated physiologist and chemist, 
that animal heat is kept up by the action of the oxygen we breathe on the 
carbon of the food that we eat, and as animal substances contain more 
carbon than^ vegetable, man needs more fat meat in winter than in summer 
to keep up the strength and supply the waste of heat from our bodies, by 
the action of the cold air at that season upon them. Man not only needs 
more food in winter, but he requires animal food. Cold and hunger are 
twoof the most enfeebhng agents on the human frame, and these poor 
wanderers were exposed to their full power. How wonderful that any of 
them should have survived so severe a trial. 

On the eighth morning, soon after quitting their camp, they came in sight 
of Belville Island. It was a welcome recognition to old Matthew, as well 
as the rest of the party, as there was now a prospect of speedy relief 
They had been six days without a single mouthful of food. The creeks 
they forded the last two days were frozen, but not strong enough to bear 
them, so that the ice was broken before them with poles. Cold and star- 
vation had nearly worn out their strength, and one day more would, prob- 
ably, have destroyed the larger portion of them. The view of the well 
known island infused new life into them, and Gardner, Starks and Olney 
concluded to push ahead to Belville and give notice of the approach of the 
others. Gallant and Conners remained with the poor fellow who was so 
badly frozen, and who had ceased all further exertion at. the prospect of 
relief, and lay down on the ground. Gallant pulled him' up, cursed him 
for a fool, threatened to shoot him on the spot, and actually cocked his 
old musket, without a flint, at him. He said he never had left a man 
alive in the woods and never would, and he should go on or be killed. 
Finally, by dint of coaxing and scolding, he got the fellow on to within a 
short distance of the station, when the settlers came to his aid. 

Before leaving him, he had given his companions a strict charge to be 
cautious how they indulged in eating, for it was very dangerous^after so 
long a fast. He told them to eat a little mush and milk or some very 
light thing, and that very slowly at first. They, however, disregarded 
his advice ; and when he came in, three hours after, he found them all 
very sick, and either vomiting or in severe pain like the colic. For him- 
self and Conners he ordered a quart of whiskey and some mush and milk; 


and so, alternately, he would sip a little of the one and eat a little of the 
other. In the meantime he was walking from cabin to cabin, chatting and 
talking with the men and shaking hands with the women whom he had 
seen on his way down the fall before. With great sangfroid, and by way 
of bravado, he still kept his pack and old dinner pot strung at his back ; 
and although repeatedly asked by the females to take it off, would answer, 
' Oh, by and by," " No matter just yet," " La ! it is nothing when once 
you get used to it." In this manner, for at least two hours, he paraded 
the old pot, greatly to the wonder and admiration of Belville castle, espec- 
ially when they learned from his companions how far he had already car- 
ried it. At length, having satisfied his appetite for food and for whiskey, 
he laid aside his load and stretched his weary limbs on his blanket before 
the fire. 

After resting two days with the hospitable borderers of Belville, they 
were all able to travel but the one who was so badly frozen. When they 
left the station at Marietta, the streams were strongly frozen over, and the 
rest of the journey was comparatively easy, as they could get food at the 
settlements on the way. Gallant again mounted the old pot and brought 
it in triumph to Marietta. He was about five feet ten inches in height, 
stout built, very qiuck and active in his motions, dark hair and complexion, 
black, piercing eye, aquiline nose, of a lively, cheerful disposition, a great 
talker and fond of story telling. He had been a soldier in Lee's legion 
during the war, and had seen much hard service. 

The ancient works in Marietta have been much written about and are 
worthy of all the attention they have received. The following account is 
taken from Harris' Tour, whicli is endorsed by Dr. Hildreth, than whom, 
there is no better authority : 


The situation of these works is on an elevated plain, above the present bank of the Muskingum, on the 
east side, and about half a mile from its junction with the Ohio. They consist of walls and mounds of 
earth, in direct lines and in square and circular forms. 

The largest square fort, by some called the town, contains forty acres, encompassed by a wall of earth 
from six to ten feet high, and from twenty-five to thirty-six feet in breadth at the base. On each 
side are three openings, at equal distance, resembling twelve gateways. The entrances at the middle are 
the largest, particularly on the side next the Muskingum. From this outlet is a covert way, formed of 
two parallel walls of earth, two hundred and thirty-one feet distant from each other, measuring from 
centre to centre. 

The walls at the most elevated part , on the inside, are twenty-one feet in height and forty-two in 
breadth at the base, but on the outside averages only five feet in height. This forms a passage of about 
three hundred and sixty feet in length, leadmg by a gradual descent to the low grounds, where, at the 
time of its construction, it probably washed the river. Its walls commenced at sixty feet from the 


ramparts of the fort and increase in elevation as the way descends toward the river ; and the bottom is 
covered in the centre in a manner of a well founded turnpike road. 

Within the walls of the fort, at the northwest corner, is an oljlong elevated square, one hundred 
and eighty-eight feet long, one hundred and thirty-two broad and nine feet high ; level on the summit 
and nearly perpendicular at the sides. At the centre of each of the sides the earth is projected, forming 
gradual ascents to the top, equally regular and about si.v feet in width. Near the south wall is another 
elevated square, one hundred and fifty feet, by one hundred and twenty, and eight feet high, similar to 
the other, e.wepting that instead of an ascent to go up on the side ne.\t the wall, there is a hollow way 
ten feet wide leading twenty feet towards the centre .and then rising with a gradual slope toward the top. 
At the southwest corner is another elevated square, one hundred and eight by fifty-fuur feet, with ascents 
at the ends, but not so high nor so perfect as the two others. A little to the southwest of the centre of 
the fort is a circular mound about thirty feet in di.ameter and five feet high, near which are four small 
excavations at equal distances, and opposite each other. At the southwest corner of the fort is a semi- 
circular parapet, crowned with a mound, which guards the opening in the wall. Towards the southeast 
is a small fort, containing twenty .acres, with a gateway in the centre of each side and at each corner. 
The gateways are defended by similar mounds. 

On the outside of the smaller fort is a mound, in the form of a sugar loaf, of a m.ignitude and height 
which strike the beholder with astonishment. Its base is a regular circle, one hundred .and fifteen feel 
in diameter ; its perpendicular attitude is thirty feet. It is surrounded by a ditch four feet deep and 
fifteen wide and defended by a parapet four feet high, through which is a gateway towards the fort, 
twenty feet in width. There are other walls, mounds and elevations less conspicuous and entire. 

Dr. Hildreth in 1819 added to this account: 

The principal excavation or well is as much as sixty feet in diameter at the surface ; and when the set- 
tlement first made, it was at least twenty feet deep. It is at present twelve or fourteen feet ; but 
has been filled up a great deal from the washing of the sides by frequent rains. It was originally of the 
kind found in the most early days, when the water was brought up by hand in pitchers, or other vessels, 
by steps formed in the sides of the well. 

The pond or reservoir, near the northwest corner of the large fort, was about twenty-five feet in diame- 
ter and the sides r.aised above the level of the adjoining surface by an embankment of earth three or four 
feet high. This was nearly full of water at the first settlement of the town, and remained so until the last 
winter, at all seasons of the year. When the ground was cleared near the well, a great many logs that 
laid high were rolled into it to save the trouble of piling and burning them. These, with the annual de- 
posit of leaves, etc., forages, have filled the well nearly full ; but still the water rose to the surface and 
had the appearance of a stagnant pool. In early times, poles and rails have been pushed down into the 
water .and deposits of rotten vegetables to the depth of thirty feet. L.ast winter the person who owns the 
well undertook to dr.ain it by cutting a ditch from the well into the small covert way. and he has dug to 
thedepthof twelve feet and let the water off to that distance. He finds the sides of the reservoir not 
perpendicular, but projecting gradually toward the center of the well, in the form of an inverted cone. 
The bottom and sides, so far as he examined, are lined with a stratum of very fine ash colored cl.iy, 
about eight or ten inches in thickness, below which is the common soil of the place. On the outside of 
the p.arapet, near the c>Wo«.fi^«jj-c, I picked up a considerable number of fragments of ancient potters' 
ware. This ware is ornamented with lines, some of them quite curious and ingenious on the outside. It 
is composed of clay .and fine gravel and a part glazing on the inside. It seems to have been burnt, 
and capable of holding liquid. The fragments, on breaking them, look quite black, with brilliant parti- 
cles appearing as you hold them to the light. 

These ancient works are still in a tolerable state of preservation with the 
exception of the covert way. That, alas ! exists no longer. Once upon 
a time a majority in the city council leaned so much to the practice of the 


Vandals that the elevations or embankment were sold to a brick-maker to 
be used for the making of brick. There is poetic justice in the fact that 
the brick-maker proved to be skilled in the matter of nonpayments, and 
the city received nothing in the way of equivalent.